How to Create a Better Workplace Post - Pandemic
Updated: May 4
HOW TO CREATE A BETTER WORKPLACE POST-PANDEMIC
4 things people will miss from their work-from-home experience
and how to bridge the gap as we transition back to the office.
Creating a balance between your work life and your personal life is not only key to your health and happiness, but it also plays a big role on your productivity. Without creating balance, many people easily become burnt out. Working from home offered millions of Americans the ability to restructure their day, from taking the dog on a walk during a lunch break to throwing in a load of laundry between conference calls. While working from home, it is easier to balance the stress that comes along with employees' ‘to-do’ lists when they get home from their 9-5, because, well, they are already home. Fifty-four percent of office workers would leave their job if they could have one with more flexibility. (Gallup)
& INTERIOR DESIGN
While we can’t solve your load of dirty laundry, we can suggest some ways to create a work-life balance while transitioning back to the office. A lot of the shift for a better work-life balance comes from a managerial stand point: implementing hybrid work weeks, offering flex scheduling, shifting to compressed work weeks. By creating a better interior environment, people will find themselves more excited to come into work.
A hybrid work environment is what many employees are looking for post-pandemic. It is assumed that there will be an increase in the ‘remote workforce’ as people decide whether or not to come back to the office. As designers, we need to utilize space efficiently to account for the new types of spaces that come with a hybrid work structure. Many companies will be implementing more hoteling spaces, and the idea of WE spaces instead of ME spaces. (See our blog about this idea here.)
Check out these 4 things people will miss from their work-from-home experience
and how to bridge the gap as we transition back to the office:
1. ELIMINATE DAILY COMMUTE
From sustainability to saving time, eliminating your daily commute is one of the things people are going to miss the most about work-from-home. The environment has thrived during this pandemic; on-site workers use twice as much electricity and paper as compared to home-based employees. With that, and the amount of cars no longer on the road, waste and emissions decrease greatly in a work-from-home environment. According to a study Xerox conducted on their employees that worked from home - employees saved an average of 92 million miles a year. According to a study conducted by Make A Living Writing, the average amount of time Americans saved by not driving into the office last year was 8.6 days!
Gen-Z and Millennials are very environmentally cautious and tend to spend more effort in "going green". This younger workforce is more likely to chose a job that aligns with their core values. As employers trying to attract and retain the younger workforce, it maybe beneficial to add additional green practices to make up for the commute. Implementing a hybrid work environment would help cut back the time wasted on your daily commute.
2. WORKSPACE FLEXIBILITY
Going to work everyday and having to look at the same cream colored workstation panel can get boring.. quick. Working from home gives you the opportunity to change things up. Want some fresh air? Take your laptop outside. Need to lay out all of your documents? Move to the kitchen table. You aren’t tethered to your cubicle when you're at home. The change of scenery can make you more creative and productive, give you a much-needed reset, or even just make you more comfortable.
Introducing different seating types and areas to accommodate different work styles can help employees who have been used to working-from-home be more productive in the office. Instead of having assigned seats, offer different places for your employees to go to get work done. Add an outdoor seating area, cafe seating, lounge seating, or some collaboration areas that will mimic the work styles employees have gotten used to at home. (Check out these examples of shared-space commercial lounge furniture!)
3. WORK WHEN YOU FEEL MOST PRODUCTIVE
A lot of people’s favorite part of work-from-home is the flexibility. According to Buffer, 32% of people said the biggest benefit of working remotely was having a flexible schedule. Working from home brings a lot of flexibility but the biggest flexibility comes with your time. Some people work best in the evening while others work best early in the morning. Many employers are becoming accepting of individual schedules, noting that as long as the work gets done (at the same quality it was before) they don’t care when you do it.
Is your office accessible when you'd like it to be? Offering employees extended hours - before and after the typical 9-5 - gives them the opportunity to flex their schedules and helps to gain a good work-life balance. If office hours are extended, it allows for a flow of traffic throughout the office. Not everyone is in between the hours of 9-5. This may allow a company to down size square footage, or even rework their current square footage to allow for additional amenities that otherwise wouldn’t have the space. Did I hear game room? A gym perhaps?
4. ADDITIONAL AMENITIES
Working from home brings more comfort and convenience to people. You can roll out of bed and hop right on your computer. You don't have to worry about packing a lunch. You can avoid the dread of having to rely on vending machine chips to hold you over until dinner. Working from home also makes it easier to carve in time for exercise. During the pandemic a lot of gyms were closed and people had to get creative with their workouts. From online zoom workouts to purchasing a personal treadmill, people have found ways to exercise from the comfort of their own home.
Vending companies offer a variety of amenities that go beyond the simple vending machine. Companies have explored and had success with introducing micro markets within the office. These "honor system" unmanned markets offer employees a variety of cost efficient food and drink options, with most offering fresh choices that get restocked throughout the week. Another great amenity many employees value are in-office gyms and workout spaces. Equipping employees with a space that can offer fitness classes before work, or a quick lift session after work, is a great way to add another amenity of employee personal life that they may miss when transitioning back to the office.
While there will always be distinct differences between working from home and working in the office, as good designers we can always consider ways to bridge the gap. Work-life balance is so important. If we all feel our best, we tend to perform our best - in all aspects of life.