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Designing for the new office

4 specific office design requirements for the post pandemic workspace.

People are slowly returning to the office as the pandemic eases up.

What’s expectations are out there in terms of workspaces.

Research shows that people have extremely specific needs of the office space now.

Let us look at the specifics.

How we work and engage with colleagues has been influenced and even changed due to our recent experience of WORK FROM HOME. We are completely accustomed to working remotely and relying on technology to connect us. What does this mean when we return to the office environment?

We unpack the four most obvious influences on office planning and design as the new normal takes shape:

Digital & real life

Remote working is here to stay as we have become accustomed to working from home and have become comfortable with remote working, remote meeting, and remote collaboration. This gives us a lot of flexibility around where and how we work. Working around flexible schedules, skipping the traffic, and cutting down on travel time are some of the pros for working remotely.

This means that we need to create spaces at the office at can accommodate team collaborative work where some team members may be present and others may be remote, dialing in electrically for the work session.

Meeting rooms and collaborative space need to be well equipped with suitable technology, providing the facilities for this mixed workstyle.

Teamwork and focus work.

People will always need focus areas where they can spend time working in isolation and facilitating focus work. The need to group up and collaborate is more evident now than ever before. Due to the nature of remote working, less time is spent socializing at work with fewer opportunities for corridor chatter. This means that group time and interaction time must be deliberate. Office spaces must accommodate various sized groups for various activities, such as casual meetings, working meetings, standing meetings and the traditional board meeting.

Open spaces and enclosed spaces

Both options are required to facilitate individual work time, for focus work, and group time for collaborative work. The ideal office environment right now, is the environment that can changed on demand with spaces that can be opened up for groups and closed off for focus work. Mobil technology is necessary to allow flexibility in these spaces.

Returning form, the work from home experience people are inclined to want to feel safe by being separated from others when working alone and in an open space when working in groups. Spaces must be adaptable; furniture must be modular and flexible now.

Fixed vs mobile

The environment demands flexibility now and depending on the task at hand, whether so be for the group or the individual, the call is for furniture and accessories that allow fluidity in the office. Movable workstations, moveable screens, movable writing surfaces and movable technology will all allow people to set up the environment they need on demand.

These are interesting times for the office designer.

Never has there been a bigger need to be fluid and flexible. Our greatest challenge now is creating spaces that will serve business for now and for the long run. However, who knows what we will need Next!

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