From social distancing regulations, limited face-to-face interactions, forbidden get-togethers, all the way to regular temperature checks, the workplace has drastically changed ever since the pandemic started. The previous year has seen an increase in remote work for most companies, so most business leaders have started focusing on other aspects of boosting their professional growth, other than workplace design.
As we expect companies to slowly go back to the office and start interacting with customers on the premises, too – we need to think about how the pandemic will affect office design, too. What are the new hygiene basics or etiquette? How do we make employees and customers feel safe as well as comfortable? Here’s what the pandemic has brought to the business table, and how you can refresh your workplace design with these new ideas in mind!
We’ve learned that transmitting the virus is relatively easy if the office is infested with germs from touching every single object without reservation. To avoid this issue, many brands will transform the office with the help of technology, or specifically, sensor-driven and biometric tech that helps eliminate unnecessary contact with different surfaces. For example, you can redesign your bathroom to replace old faucets with sensor-based ones – they’ll both conserve energy, reduce water waste, and eliminate unnecessary contact.
Then again, you can switch to Acer’s antimicrobial solutions for your touchscreen surfaces, so that your people can benefit from the elevated hygiene without the need to over-clean their devices. This doesn’t eliminate the need for cleaning your gadgets, but it minimizes it. Also, the air quality in your office heavily depends on the upgraded HVAC systems that keep your air germ-free as much as possible. Ultimately, take it up a notch if you’re willing to invest in cleansing portals that eliminate germs and measure the temperature of customers and employees before they enter the building!
In addition to feeling safe, businesses in the post-pandemic era will want to make their customers and employees feel comfortable in their workplace. Whether you have a client visiting to come up with a marketing strategy with your team, or you’re merely looking for ways to improve employee happiness – make your office look and feel warm and relaxing.
Instead of naked, marble floors in the lobby, you can pick a warm Missamara rug that will add to the aesthetics of your office, but also complement its friendly, inviting atmosphere. These are famous for their durability and versatile use, so you can mix and match their purpose, place them on the roof to spruce up your outdoor area, or touch up your conference room.
If your teams will work in a hot area, then you also need curtains to keep the lighting in your workplace at an optimal level, while adding to the beauty of the space. Aim for air cleansing curtains such as Ikea’s GUNRID to give them another purpose.
Let’s use Digital Next’s cool Melbourne office as the perfect example! Their space is brimming with greenery, making it more serene, welcoming, and purposeful. Nature matches any look and style, so you can certainly add a multitude of potted plants to keep the air clean and the mood high among your employees.
Since we’ve been cooped up inside for months on end, it makes sense that we need access to nature, and once we go back to the office, we’ll all benefit from plants. Vertical gardens in the kitchen or the lobby combined with hanging plants can help people feel at ease and contribute to your air-cleansing efforts.
Whether you have a team of no more than five people, or you run a business counting dozens of employees – how will you ensure social distancing and provide ample personal space to any office visitor? This will be another burning question for business owners in the post-covid world, many of them actively looking for ways to keep social distancing for the sake of prevention.
Thankfully, the modern office layout, including open floorplans allow for plenty of flexibility in arranging the furniture, introducing cells and dividers, creating a flow of free movement for employees to limit close interactions, desk sharing, and the like. Some companies will create shift-based office hours, or alternate staff to work remotely and at the office at different times, to make sure the space is never overcrowded and to abide by government standards.
Until we discover what the new normal will be for the professional scene, we can brace ourselves for the changes we can easily anticipate that will elevate the safety and comfort of any workplace. How you tackle office design in the post-pandemic climate will help you reconnect with your employees as well as customers, establish trust, and make people feel safe in your work environment.
The design of your office doesn’t necessarily require a major overhaul to achieve this. By investing in the right tech, accessories, and rethinking your layout, you can give your workplace a whole new dimension of safety and comfort. Although the pandemic has brought on a slew of challenges for businesses that depend on their workspace, it will also become a source of innovation and improvement for many to take their business to the next level.
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