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What Will Post-Pandemic Offices Look Like?

With much of the country starting to tentatively open up once again amid the coronavirus crisis, people are now sure to be wondering when they may have to go back to the office once again – and many are experiencing post-lockdown anxiety as a result.

Writing for HR News, founder of Office Reality Paul Seddon explained that the impact of the pandemic has challenged conventional office buildings and layouts, and will necessitate a real change in working style in the future.

People are already starting to become accustomed to floor signage, keeping a safe distance from others when out in public and increased hand sanitisation. These practices will be implemented and used alongside staggered shift times, single person lift use and the elimination of hotdesking.

Mr Seddon came up with some layout recommendations to help companies design their office spaces with the pandemic in mind. These include modular workspaces or hives that can be used to encourage more focused work, but minimising face-to-face working by turning them away from each other.

Phone boxes can be installed to encourage people to carry out phone or video conferencing calls in private without having to disturb anyone.

“We must now take a different view of what the office is used for, but also should be excited about what it can be used for. With reduced footfall comes free floor space which could be used to make the office more of a hub where people come to learn new skills and make well-presented video conference calls, leaving the more focused style of work for the home,” Mr Seddon continued.

A new Exploring the post Covid-19 Workplace report from EMEA Workplace Advisory has just revealed that while there is still support for the continuation of some working from home once the crisis has passed, there is also a real need to return to the office once again to work alongside colleagues.

Head of the organisation JanJaap Boogaard explained that one of the biggest surprises for a lot of companies is the realisation that they are able to work remotely and continue to be productive and connected.

He went on to say that this has sparked conversations for many as they review their work processes and the very culture of their business, asking what the future may hold for their workplace.

Mr Boogaard did note, however, that the office is still “very much alive and kicking”, because it is difficult to build a “compelling team culture” if you’re always working remotely. Face-to-face interaction is required in order to establish “true, meaningful connections”.

Where office design is concerned, prioritising collaboration, creativity and teamwork will really serve to transform layouts, while also allowing for remote working as a credible option.

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