There’s nothing like a global pandemic to make you reflect on all that life has to offer, and, of course, work is a huge aspect of that. This period has provided a great opportunity to rethink how we work and how to create workspaces where colleagues feel safe, welcome and productive. With more people working from home than ever before, the prospect of returning to the office can be both a daunting and thrilling experience, therefore it is vital that returning to the workspace is considered fully and actions are taken that make it a positive event.
A big concern for both companies and individual employees, is ensuring that office spaces are Covid-secure, and safe to be in. This means really prioritising time, effort and capital in ensuring that safety takes precedence. Not just doing the bare minimum of sanitation stations and social distancing but implementing forward-thinking office design that will give employees the confidence to return. Using design features that are easy to clean, adaptable and encourage social distancing are an imperative. But, as well as utilising innovative office design, communication is key in enabling everyone in the workspace to clearly comprehend what is required of them. Guidelines on sanitation coupled with a daily check reporting system and regular updates to employees on all initiatives taking place, will encourage a culture of committing to cleanliness. Why not assign and train an employee to monitor the working environment and handle any concerns staff may have regarding returning to the office? Make sure practices are constantly reviewed, so you can implement new measures if needed.
This keys into a really important component of the new normal of work life; a welcoming and positive environment for employees. People have become acclimatized to working from the warm cocoon of their home, where it is perhaps a more secure and comforting surrounding, and so big steps have got to be made to make working from an office look appealing. Communication of hygiene standards will assist in boosting wellbeing and developing a culture of inclusivity, but more can also be done. Providing facilities and amenities that make workspaces more alluring, like coffee bars, bike facilities, comfortable sofas or pleasing aesthetics, all help make work a more exciting prospect. Mental health has become more of a focus for employers as they evaluate their values, and with the difficulties the pandemic has produced, it’s instrumental that workplaces, and companies, spend time in supporting their staff.
Whilst it’s important that the office is a welcoming place to be, productivity levels have also got to be maintained. Hopefully, a happy and safe worker creates more high-quality work, but there’s further steps that can be made to boost productivity. A lot of this comes down to effective management, communication, and training, but office spaces can have an affect too. Having been used to working from home, where there may have been distractions, it may take time to adapt back to a different setting. Ensuring the office space is equipped with all the tools and design features that employees need access to, as well as safe areas for designated breaks, will be crucial in keeping staff productive.
The challenges that returning to work poses may vary hugely but the principles of safety, inclusion and prioritising wellbeing are guaranteed to create a workplace environment that is a joy to be in. So many have desperately missed the camaraderie of the office and have had the chance to reflect on the positive aspects of work life, therefore making the return to work an exciting opportunity that will reinvigorate staff performance and boost morale is worth dedicating time and resource to.
Over to you
How are you planning your return to the office? If you’d like help to accommodate the return of your colleagues, contact Workspace Design and Build today. Our team of specialists are on hand to listen to your thoughts and work with you to provide a functional and creative space that will help attract and retain your staff. Get in touch by leaving a comment below or via one of our social media pages.