The New Normal is here to stay
We have spent a lot of time discussing 'the new norm' with existing and new clients, this includes how they may get back to work safely and how the workplace may need to be modified after Lockdown.
Many businesses are saying that they have been working well remotely and that they are in no hurry to return to the office until it is completely safe to do so, indeed this might not be until the end of the year. They are more concerned with how office space will need to function in the long term, with a workforce having fully adapted new work patterns over the last few months. Most companies have at least realised that they probably do not need as much space, and with space being such an expensive fixed cost, it is certainly worth considering how much is needed and how best to use it. It is still very uncertain how things will change. There are both positive and negative experiences to be taken from our enforced ‘Working from Home’ regime and many different opinions as to how the office design of the future may need to respond.
We expect that companies will now review how they operate so that they both create the right office environment for the future (and in all likelihood save space and money) and build on the positive feedback from the WFH experience. Clearly, starting this process now will enable them to take staff with them on the journey and most importantly stop the drift back to how it was before.
On this basis we should be re-evaluating our work patterns and expanding the options permanently to include alternative locations for different tasks and sensible developments should include:
|More Collaboration Space||Effective Home Working||Additional Time Management|
|Redesigning our offices as somewhere to spend more time collaborating with less space for solitary working.||Ensuring we all have the option to make home working the most productive it can be.||Ensuring we implement new time management processes to manage interaction in multiple locations.|
"One thing I am certain of is that people are much more open to the idea of change that they would have been before the lockdown. Many people have realised that things that were just impossible to conceive just three months ago actually are not too dramatic after all. This will apply, in particular to how they view their working structure."
Mike Bird, Projects Partner
Working from home
So, let us have a look at the positives and the negatives of Working from Home (WFH)
- Improved productivity for concentrated tasks, often less disruption/distraction
- Easy to arrange meetings through Video Conferencing and they both start and generally finish on time
- Time and money savings with reduced commute
- Reduced printing and therefore using less paper and consumables
- Massive environmental benefits with 17% global reduction in Greenhouse gases on 2019
- Maybe too many distractions at home depending on your office setup
- Health and safety issues resulting from substandard office equipment and bad time management
- Human interaction is needed for wellbeing and motivation
- Establishing new routines for WFH
There has been an unexpected positive from the pandemic experience, one that we could never normally have hoped for, we have seen an unprecedented reduction in pollution levels. It would be scandalous to ignore the opportunity to re-invent ourselves with a greener footprint, and we need to be careful that we ensure the wellbeing of our people working from home too.
We have been aware for some time of the benefits of implementing wellbeing initiatives in office design and we need to ensure we apply the same enthusiasm for our wellbeing WFH. These items should include:
- Establishing a routine
- Having a dedicated workspace with the right equipment
- Making sure you take breaks
- Staying connected with colleagues
- Setting boundaries with other members of your household
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