As the lockdown has slowly been lifted, I have seen a change in businesses thought processes of how to handle the next 6 months. There has been an obvious shift from the immediate panic to action, making the office safe to accommodate social distancing rules to the realisation that the ship isn’t sinking and people are working fine from home. There is a surprising sense of calm to not have a mad rush to get back in the office but instead a realisation that change is needed.
Companies are now taking the time to accept the new way of working is happening and their structure and workplace strategies are being reviewed and new measures for the long term needs of the business are off to a promising start. Whilst this crisis has seen businesses thrown into the unknown it has given them the break to step back, review, address and plan what they can do from a cultural stance and how they can work smarter moving forward.
Without this crisis would we have seen such a drastic shift to the ‘new normal’?
What does the ‘new normal’ really mean? Something that will present itself in the future like a light bulb moment or is it actually just the old normal being re-badged as the new normal and we will see everything resorting back to how it was, “business as usual”.
Have we truly grasped and accepted the need for change? The virus has certainly kicked us into a state of realisation after years of speculation around the effectiveness and efficiencies of home working but for many it has been a positive wake up call. Overall, productively levels have been maintained and, in some cases, increased. Interaction via technology has proven its value and worth, albeit with a few sub-par connectivity issues, but it has shown us all what was deemed the impossible now presents an opportunity to build and develop.
Flexible work patterns will likely become common practice with employees wanting, now even expecting, to have the ability to work both in the office and at home. Many internal surveys are being conducted to understand the positive and negative experiences of staff working from home and returning to the office.
Recent studies have shown the younger generation are struggling with working from home with their accommodations restricting access to adequate workspace and a suitable work environment and their desire to connect with team members in person. Whilst in contrast, the older more experienced employees have embraced the flexibility and have adapted well with fewer challenges and positive workplace experiences.
The clear need being echoed through the findings is the human want to collaborate and that is why the office is not going anywhere, it just needs to be re-thought out to accommodate the future needs of the business.
In a recent blog about the ‘New Normal’, written by my colleague Mike Bird; ‘If we could make the office somewhere to spend more time collaborating and team building and less time with our heads down in solitary working mode, that would seem to make sense. The solitary part of our jobs could be done at home’. It absolutely makes sense, for those that want it.
So, what roads now present themselves?
Do we keep the same and shelve the past few months ideas till the next round of lease options or do we look at what we’ve got now to understand how we can start the ball rolling with changing out the office to be a better environment offering employees a more social, collaborative and learning space to give them the best possible working experience we can.
Carrying out a workspace analysis of your office can help you put a stake in the ground to identify new options for your workplace strategy, with what you have now or what you desire in the future.
With the return of employees to the office, in most cases, via shift patterns or reduced days gives you the chance to evaluate the workspace usage and identify which areas can be redesigned for better functionality or to free up more space in your floor plan for collaborative and social areas.
Having a clear understanding of how your workspace functions in the coming months will be key and incorporating the feedback from your employee survey results into the workspace analysis will give you a clear report to benchmark from so you can plan how new and better changes can be done now.
Jonathan Day - Client Relations Partner
If you would like to understand the steps involved with carrying out workspace analysis, please get in touch via our contact page.Contact Us