This year has been a very unpredictable one for a lot of workforces around the world. Where possible, many office workers have been working from home for the majority of 2020. Although many office buildings have tried to reopen in recent months and encouraged workers to return to their old place of work, many workers are still reluctant to head back. With new lockdown measures introduced in the UK, having a proper ‘return to work’ for many office workers has been further delayed.
While safety measures had been implemented for safer office working, a lot of workers are now preferring to stay at home instead. Some of the reasons why workers are staying at home is because they can safely avoid contact with other households and also remote working has proven quite effective for some. However, as the year draws to a close, working from home fatigue might be setting in for some people. This winter, many workers might be looking for useful ways to make working from home more bearable.
With increasing Covid cases and tighter lockdown measures, employees might be more eager than ever to stay at home if they can. While their workers are at home, there have been many ways that business owners have been thinking of adapting workspaces to accommodate Covid-19 safety measures. For the rest of this year and as we enter 2021, it’s clear to see how office spaces will not be the same as they used to be for a long time yet.
The end of hotdesking: While hotdesking, often from a coworking space, used to be quite a good tactic for many businesses, now shared workstations are fast becoming a thing of the past. With workers working in confined office spaces, office workstations are changing to accommodate social distancing measures and space people out.
For now, it’s best that employees have their own designated stations; ones they have all to themselves and can clean down at the end of the day. Work desks that are also close together will have to be spaced out too. Safe desk spacing and division, by using office screens or dividers, can further help to protect workers at their designated stations.
Rethinking office floor plans: When office layouts are put in place, they usually remain the same for quite a while. However, now and then it can be beneficial to rethink office plans, particularly during the current pandemic. Highlighted in Southern Office Furniture’s Guide To Planning Your Office Space, it can be useful to look at certain characteristics of the office space when planning a new layout or office reorganisation.
During Covid-19 planning, it could be worthwhile to consider how light the space is, how adaptable it is, and also consider the different rooms or zones that need to be added, or even removed, in the office floor layout.
Maintaining good ventilation and cleaning: While good ventilation and cleaning has always played a part in office maintenance, for the moment there will be a greater emphasis on them. Office spaces will likely become more open in order to lessen the spread of Covid-19. Office designs might also become more of an open floor plan and furniture might be spread out more if there is enough room to do so. Areas of the office that were once neglected might become more used than ever before as employees space out to accommodate each other. While huddles and packed meeting rooms used to be commonplace in some offices, it’s highly unlikely that this method of working will be used for quite some time now.
Encouraging reduced employees in the office: Although many offices are trying to encourage employees back to the office, many new lockdowns and working preferences are taking hold, preventing a return to the old office. For those who must go into the office, devising regular staff rotation can help reduce the number of people who are in the office at the same time. If you have a large working space, consider improvising one-way walkways principle that will make sure no colliding while your employees are moving in and out of the office.
According to an article on HR News, even a third of employees believe that they have been more productive since the start of lockdown when working from home. Therefore, when employees are able to return to their office in the future, business owners must consider whether their workforce will want to change their working from home routines that they have become so used to this year.