With the majority of companies taking the flexible working approach post pandemic, many of these companies are re-thinking their office design. Companies are now reducing their office space. They are re-designing their office for a flexible approach, while increasing productivity within the workplace.
When thinking of what approach to take for your new office design, there are a few key aspects to consider. Which are the following: Productivity, Flexibility, Health and Safety.
One of the biggest worries’ companies had when the normal workday shifted from the office to work from home, was employee productivity decreasing. However quite the opposite happened. Studies have shown that employee productivity increased. A recent study by Stanford of 16,000 workers, found that productivity increased by 13% of those who were working from home. The fact that productivity increased when working from home, tells us that companies must ensure that this productivity stays the same if not increases when employees return to the office.
Key Factors for Productivity
There are certain factors companies need to consider for productivity and their new office design. The utilization of your office space is key to productivity. It also has a big impact on employee behaviour. Before companies were adding gyms, free snack areas and gaming rooms to their offices. This was to boost morale and keep productivity levels high. With flexible working on the rise, these extra perks won’t mean much to employees going forward. Now there will be a need for more physical spaces and meeting rooms. This is to allow for collaboration between departments. These teams need to have spaces to go to discuss current projects and generate new ideas. Lighting also plays a huge role in optimal office design and increased employee productivity. This is where office design and allowing for flexible working comes into play.
With the introduction of flexible working there will be less desks needed within the office. With less desks it will make it easier to incorporate social distancing within your new office design. Some companies are looking at designing an office environment where pieces can be added or removed.
Previous Stats on Flexible Workplaces
In 2017 a survey was carried out by Capital One on what employees expect in an office environment. According to the report 85% of professionals found that flexible workplace design is important. 82% said they have their best ideas in a flexible workspace. Now if these were the stats from four years ago, think about how much higher that number is going to be today now that flexible working is on the rise. This leads back to how important office design is for productivity.
Variety of Workspaces
For a flexible office design to work there needs to be a variety of workspaces. These workspaces could include meeting rooms, cubicles where you can remove the wall to allow for collaboration. Open floor space with islands of desks that are socially distanced, to allow for an open floor plan with islands of desks a hot desking software could be used. Instead of assigning employees to specific desks, allow them to book a desk when they need to be in the office.
For employees that do not like working in open floor spaces. This can be due to noise and not being able to concentrate. By having a variety of workspaces, it will allow these types of employee to choose to work in a quieter setting. Such as a cubicle or private office. A hot desking software could also be used in this case. For booking cubicles or meeting rooms. Having this variety of workspaces included in your new office design is going to be the key to flexible working within the office. While also using a software that can manage all of this for you easily.
Health and Safety
Another aspect that is going to need change in your new office design is health and safety. Employees are going to be far more conscious in regard to health and safety post pandemic.
Companies that decide to take the hot desk booking system approach are going to need to think about cleaning protocols. Desks and meeting rooms will have to be cleaned down after each use. This is due to many employees using the same desk at different times. Designing cleaning protocols and using professional cleaning services will help employees feel safe within your new office environment. This will also help avoid objections to an office hoteling or hot desking system. In the admin back end of Ronspot, a report on what desks have been used that day will be emailed to your cleaning staff every evening. This is to ensure every desk that has been used is cleaned, while also making it easier for your cleaning staff.
Companies are going to have to set a maximum office occupancy level. The entire workforce is no longer going to be allowed in the office at the same time. Managing your office occupancy levels can be quite a heavy-duty task for your office/facilities manager. When drafting up your new office design, companies should incorporate new technologies that could potentially be used to manage this. This will make company operations far more efficient. A hot desking app like Ronspot can manage office occupancy levels within in the app.
Social distancing is likely to continue for some time after the pandemic. Companies must design their office around social distancing. Consider one-way systems in the corridor, no more crowded cubicles and placing signs around the office to guide employees. Signs with information such as maximum occupancy levels in rooms, bathrooms, and elevators. Many Companies have started to use more automatic doors within in the office and touchless technology. Elevator buttons that you hit with your feet is a rising trend among corporate offices. These protocols need to be put in place to gain employee’s trust. This will prove to them that their new office design is flexible, healthy, and safe environment. Lastly companies need to consider ventilation within their new office design. Such as upgraded air filters and filtration systems. Incorporating all of these aspects well, will allow for a flexible workplace and keep employee morale high.
Importance of Having a Flexible Office Design
In a recent article by The Times UK found that half of the staff surveyed would quit if denied a flexible workplace. Here are some statistics from the article:
- 49% of employees surveyed said they would leave their job if their employer didn’t allow them to work in their preferred location.
- One in ten believe their boss would give staff the option to work in their preferred location.
- Less than half of the workers surveyed predict their employers would choose a flexible working approach.
In a previous blog we spoke about the benefits of flexwork. Among other benefits of flexible working is talent attraction and retention. If companies do not allow for flexible working, they are going to lose their highest performing employees.
If that does not convince you on the importance of flexible working. Here are some more statistics on flexible working. In a recent study by future forum on productivity in companies that allow flexibility found:
- People working at companies allowing flexibility in where they work reported 43% higher productivity scores than those who did not.
- People working at companies allowing flexibility in when they worked reported 53% higher productivity scores than those who did not.
So, what has your new office design got to do with a flexible workplace? If your new office design is not set up to allow for flexible working, then flexible working is not going to work. Be prepared for employees handing in their notice, while struggling to hire high performing new employees. For flexible working to work you must have a flexible office design. Taking the steps, we have spoken about in this blog. Will guide you to having a successful flexible workplace.