In the past three decades, a series of quiet revolutions have transformed the way we work in our office spaces, erasing the former hierarchies of walls and cubicles and replacing them with more team-based, and open-plan layouts. However, this pandemic has made us rethink the way we work like never before. It has created the need for a faster than anticipated transformation for our offices to support remote working, social distancing, and providing cleaner workplaces.
As we start to consider the end of quarantine and what the future holds in our new normal, here are 5 ways you can revamp your workspace to mimic the comfort and safety of working from home. Because the reality is, face-to-face communication is how we build community, strengthen relationships and work towards our collective missions. Read along and learn the steps to create a safe, happy, and productive workplace. If you are an employer, you will see the reasons why you should help your workers create a healthy workplace and feel relaxed by reading this article.
1. Workstations that Allow Social Distancing – New Layouts and What to Invest In
It is critical to consider optimizing your space to make the most out of it. A complete renovation of the office space will be extremely costly and implementing social distancing in the existing footprint will result in a lot of wasted space.
Now, you may ask ‘’How can I better utilize my office space without increasing the footprint?’’ Systems Furniture Workstations are a great way to make this possible. The possibilities of customization are endless with this office layout.
If you are already using systems furniture workstations in your office, you are off to a great start because they can be easily configured to suit individual needs. For example – you can design the accounting department to have higher panels than the marketing department who needs to discuss ideas daily. Hire more staff? Simply add another workstation to the mix and your employees are ready to go.
There’s more – you can add glass stackers to the workstation panels that will not only serve as protection but also provide auditory privacy while still allowing people to see each other and interact.
Last but not the least, systems furniture workstations are remarkably cost-efficient as they require less total material for the full layout configuration. If you are looking to buy standard-sized workstations (usually 6’ by 6’), you should budget between $1200 and $4000 per workstation.
2. Open Floor Plans Are Still a YES
Open floor plans generally limit the number of surfaces touched in the office if they are appropriately spaced and configured. Things like door handles and cubicle openings are some of the most touched objects in a workspace and with an open floor plan, these can be avoided.
Another benefit of using an open floor plan is improved ventilation. If there’s one thing that Covid-19 has taught us, it is that ventilation is key to preventing the spread of viruses. If you have windows, leave them open for a while during the day. This will improve the airflow in the workspace, and it is great for mental health and productivity.
Incorporating benching systems into an open office layout makes collaborating and solo work easy, with built-in data routing, power, and available accessories like light and storage. These are essentially structures that use long, shared worksurfaces to connect stations, giving it a much lighter feel.
Benching also means saved space. Not only do cubicles create physical barriers between employees, but they also take up a ton of physical space in your office. Whether your office is large or small, it’s always a good idea to maximize the space in your office. Our associates at Haworth offer a variety of height-adjustable benching applications for multiple environments. Keeping our people-first approach in mind, it’s hard not to mention the health benefits of using height-adjustable benching by directing you to another one of our articles – ‘’Why Should You Buy a Sit-to-Stand Desk?’’
3. Creating Flexible Workplaces
Working from home is something few experienced before the Covid-19 pandemic, but now more and more people are requesting the flexibility to work from home on certain days and from the office on others. According to recent studies, 25 to 30 percent of the workforce will be working remotely by the end of 2021.
Creating a multifunctional office space with various configurations, furniture styles, etc. to serve various work requirements will allow employees to self-select different areas of the office depending on what they need to do that day. Different team members have different work preferences, and it is important to provide workspaces that can meet the varying requirements. A great example of this is the ‘To Do Room’ at our headquarters. Team members can use the room for several purposes such as large presentations, small group meetings or impromptu teamwork.
Flexible office layouts also encourage teamwork and collaboration between the workers. Modular furniture that can be modified or moved makes it possible to change the office space as requirements change. If you think this sounds like something you could really benefit from, then the Compose Office Workstations offered by Haworth would be a great choice for you. It gives you the flexibility to go back at any time and add, remove, or change individual desks or even your entire floorplan to fit new guidelines.
4. Choosing the Right Furniture, Finishes & Technology
Keeping the office clean also means sanitizing the furniture that is being used by countless people daily. Choosing adaptable furniture and selecting finish materials that are easy to sanitize can make a huge impact in creating a safe work environment.
User-friendly and touchless technology will provide optimum environmental control and stop the spread of germs. Examples of this could include motion lights and motion sensors when entering a room or turning on a faucet.
If you have a busy office space, with many visitors coming and going, you may consider investing in Thermal Imaging & IR Thermometers. Both the tools work by detecting infrared radiation and translating it into a temperature reading. These devices help identify fevers in people who are entering the building and lets you take the utmost level of precaution.
For a customized quotation of Thermal Imaging & IR Thermometers, feel free to reach out to our colleagues at Cabco.
5. Workplaces that Offer the Comfort of Home
Let’s face it – who doesn’t like naps? After months of working remotely from home, we have all become accustomed to a certain level of comfort while working. Having spaces like a nap room or relaxation room that mimic the cozy work-from-home setup will help you feel more motivated and happier while you work. Some other things to consider could be having full-service kitchens or outdoor seating areas so you can take breaks away from your desk at work. This will undoubtedly boost your overall well-being.
It has been a growing trend to introduce elements that may be more comfortable and inviting to employees rather than the older, more sterile and cold office environments. Simple items such as a comfy rug or a coffee mug with a welcoming message could give the office the feel of a home. If the workspace is an original, fun, and dynamic space, similar to what may be found in the home, then Mondays are just like any other day. Not to mention, a relaxed atmosphere is more conducive to developing positive work relationships and friendships.
Need more advice about your post-pandemic office setup?
Have questions about buying office furniture more broadly? At Office Interiors, we strongly believe that it is our responsibility to provide our customers with the answers and information they need to make an informed decision.
Our Office Furniture Buyer’s Guide answers all the questions our customers most frequently ask us, such as:
- What are the costs of office furniture?
- How do furniture warranties work?
- Am I picking the right furniture?
- And much, much more.
We have always offered free ergonomic assessments of our customers’ offices. Book an Assessment of your office/workstation.