September 7, 2020
Office New Normal – Reset Strategies
POSTED BY Dahir
Before and During a global pandemic
With a rampant virus sweeping our lives, we find ourselves in unchartered waters. Where do we go from here? With many businesses being forced to either close, re-open or restructure, we are all emerging into a society of unknown possibilities and increasing anxiety. History tells us that we are adaptable and resilient, so what type of changes can we expect and how do we overcome our new hurdles in the business world?
Working Between Home and Office
Many of us are continuing to work from home and may struggle to draw a line between home and business focus. With a situation that is continuously changing it is crucial that we create expectations for ourselves which in turn will provide clarity to our team.
Draw a Line
Without being too cliché, we know the early bird gets the worm. Aiming to dive into to-do lists as soon as possible should be feasible for most, especially with no added commute time. It can get the day started earlier and make progress with tasks before daily distractions hit. Making an effort to shower and get dressed, though basic can be monumentally beneficial for preparing mindset and readiness to take on the day.
It can be jarring jumping up to a computer when home responsibilities seem daunting i.e. the mountain of laundry or the front lawn jungle. However, if definitive breaks are set along with a firm finishing time, boundaries will be set on time allowable to tackle daily tasks. Making an effort to go into the office or join a virtual meeting whenever possible can also increase productivity in other ways. Knowing there are human interactions to look forward to can be rewarding as well as motivating.
Ghost Town Syndrome
With empty cafeterias and deserted staff rooms due to social distancing, socializing has become a tumbleweed blowing into extinction. While water-cooler chat seems a thing of the past, the situation is not bleak at is sounds.
Time is Money
Employers are now forced to find creative solutions to connect with their employees as they work in virtual spaces. With less money spent on company gatherings and transportation, companies can invest funds elsewhere. This in turn leads to a small relief of financial burden and time to complete other tasks.
Getting up to Speed
Office policies are rapidly changing as we all adapt to regular sanitization schedules and procedures. All employees need to have company plans clearly provided and be up to date on all new protocols before they return to the workplace. All public buildings need to have signage posted and procedures displayed for all outsiders to be informed of expectations.
Be a Joiner
If there are any virtual social activities being held, encourage staff to join as many as possible. Even joining a meeting five minutes early allows chit chat amongst co-workers and building relationships outside of tasks. Building these connections within the company infrastructure can not only improve productivity but can also rejuvenate mental wellness.
As we all migrate back into the office, reimagining workspace purpose and space planning will come into play. This is the time for employers to take inventory of ‘’what’s working, what’s needed and what can be repurposed”.
PPE and Safety
Touchless and hands-free solutions will be ideal wherever possible as well as sanitizing stations in each common area and shared space. Mandatory masks, sanitizer pumps and rubber gloves should be accessible to every employee and every outsider visiting the premises. Surfaces that will be regularly cleaned and PPE products that are readily available will be key to keeping people safe.
Items that are portable and multifunctional such as mobile screens and plexiglass solutions will be crucial to business owners looking to optimize their budget and accommodate all needs. Furniture that is lightweight and/or on casters will be valuable to reconfigure layouts, ensuring staff are always social distancing. Items that are removable and versatile are perfect for employees working from home and office, so they can simply pick up and plug-in from wherever they are.
As we begin to infiltrate in-office workplaces, the purpose of the workspace will undoubtedly be challenged. Configurations that previously accommodated your team before may not work going forward. However, as we continue to blindly face obstacles in our personal and professional lives, we reflect on the fact that we are true, all in this together.
Are you in the process of reimagining or renovating your space during this new normal? Truspace can help design updated spaces that adapt to your changing needs and encourage acceleration for success. Contact us today to learn more about our integrated design-build process, and to book a free, preliminary consultation with one of our specialists.