If there anything our team has learned after a year of social distancing, is that it is impossible to replace in-person interaction with a Zoom call. And we are not alone: collaboration is the most often-cited reason people miss being at work, as many companies look towards readjusting their office plans to reopen (fully or partially), “going to office” might have a different definition than it did prior to 2020.
While working from home carries some communicative and social disadvantages, working from home also poses many positive benefits. Many companies who have chosen to partially open their doors, are adopting more flexible or “hybrid” work schedules. This means, work schedules that accommodate both in-office and remote work. Usually by department or role, and sometimes by preference, this new style of working will have an impact on how many offices will be redeveloped and furnished in 2021.
The pre-pandemic world saw cities getting more crowded, as offices became smaller and smaller. Employees were often seated too close for comfort, with little capacity to block out external noise and chatter. Adjusting one’s office design plan to incorporate these new changes carry positive benefits for productivity. Employees, whose roles rely on a heavy degree of focus, may notice a serendipitous rise in productivity performing those critical tasks outside of a noisy common space.
The Future of In-Office Collaboration
Imagine being able to create one’s in-office schedule depending on the roles or tasks one needed to perform that day. A noticeable result of surveys conducted over the last year, show that most employees enjoy a flexible model where they spend some days at work in the office, and some days working from home. While some tasks require a certain degree of focus, essential relationship-building and communication is often best handled in-person. These new preferences have created the opportunity for offices to serve their best and most worthwhile function: to provide a place for employees to meet with each other, and to collaborate.
Offices that adopt a more hybrid and flexible approach may conform their office space to incorporate larger collaborate areas, more meeting rooms, and design open work areas that incorporate better safety procedures.
Adapting Your Own Office Plan
It is important to note that once companies determine that it is safe to return to work at full capacity, companies will need to redesign their offices to meet new internal changes and requirements. Some companies may decide to have certain departments continue working at home, while at the same time transitioning other roles that require more in-person interaction back to the office. From a space planning perspective, this will require a reassessment of the existing office layout to determine what modifications will need to be made. This is something that is already happening today, as companies additionally approach the issues of office reconfiguration, upcycling existing furniture, and updating solutions for the Post-Covid workplace.
Being able to work side-by-side with your team is an unparalleled experience for learning and growth within one’s organization. In 2021, while there are many changes to be expected on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how the hybrid trend will impact how offices operate throughout the world. Plan your hybrid office in 2021 and book a consultation with our office furniture team.