While the pandemic has caused emotional, physical, and also financial woes for many, in the wake of its decline, it leaves a strong message about how fast a virus can spread. In order to keep vulnerable employees safe and the workplace inclusive, businesses will have to transform their office spaces and workplace guidelines. Here are five transformations all offices need to go through post-pandemic:
1. Shared Spaces Need To Change
Offices are collaborative spaces. This is true of open-plan offices as well as individual cubicles. If it’s not the workspace that’s shared, there are communal areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. In a post-pandemic world, we have to change our shared office spaces to minimize the spread of any viruses, germs, and bacteria.
Interior designers and architects will need to assess the layouts of these areas so that social distancing and space are natural and easy to achieve. Offices and business owners are likely to see a sharp rise in the need for these professionals and their ability to assess functional needs and translate them aesthetically.
2. Workplace Flexibility Needs To Remain Open
An internal structural transformation will be necessary for most businesses. The option for employees (especially those with compromised immune systems and autoimmune conditions) to work from home will have to remain available. A workplace that forces its staff to use shared office spaces while the virus is still around will fall out of favor with the general public and earn itself potential legal implications. It is a human right to stay safe and protected. Those that are vulnerable will need the option to work from home for as long as they need to.
3. Virtual Tools Will Facilitate Distance Working
A structural change that affords workers the opportunity to work from home is not an easy thing to retrofit onto an existing office-based business model. It will take a lot of work and careful planning to equip the business with the correct tools to facilitate such a large change. Besides enlisting Zoom to facilitate virtual meetings, consider adding some new project management tools. Monday.com, Trello, and Asana remain the most popular. To facilitate collaboration between team members and remain productive, try Slack, which allows for instant messaging between colleagues.
4. Team Meetings Need To Facilitate More Distance
Remember crowding into one conference room and hoping you weren’t one of the unlucky few who had to stand for the whole meeting? In a post-pandemic world, offices can’t allow crowded gatherings within confined spaces. Boardrooms will have to change to include a constant circulation of fresh air, which means we may see a drop in the use of air conditioners and a rise in extractor fans. Boardrooms will also have to be redesigned to allow for distance between delegates.
5. Shared Tools Will Need To Be Revised
Do teams in your office space have to share a stapler or work with the same files? This will need to change. Anything that can be stored virtually should be. Companies may roll out a new policy requiring employees to bring their own utensils, including stationery.
Creating Safe Spaces Calls For Diversity and Inclusion
Businesses that have a diversity and inclusion policy will need to consider that those with autoimmune conditions, who may not have fallen into the category of disabled previously, will do so now. There will need to be extra provision for those that need to self-isolate and maintain social distancing for longer. Though it will take a lot of work, the end goal is for everyone to be able to thrive in the post-pandemic world.