ProSpeak

4 workplace design strategies to get people back to the office
Jul 5, 2021
Todd Custer, President, Custer Inc.
ProSpeak

With the shift to more work from home in 2020, we saw an evolution in where people get work done. But the significance of physical office space to an organization remains. While 72 percent of business leaders expect to go back to a hybrid work model, certain business activities are just done better in person rather than remotely.

In 2021, the success of the hybrid work model hinges on leaders’ success in cultivating an office environment that people want to come back to. According to a recent Microsoft study, “66 percent of business decision-makers have considered redesigning physical space to better accommodate a hybrid work environment.”

I’m sharing four design principles for creating a high-performing, integrated workspace that supports your talent and empowers them to do their best work.

1. Harness home and hospitality: Through our experience of working from home throughout the pandemic, employees have become accustomed to the comforts of home.

To encourage employees to choose the office over their house, make the space more comfortable and less corporate by incorporating these elements into the work environment. Open up communal space with more access to food and beverage, seating with various postures, and greenery and access to natural light. Also, make it a great hospitality experience. Have good coffee, refreshments and high-energy snacks on hand for both employees and visiting clients. Yes, that is an investment, and I promise you it’s well worth it.

2. Support teamwork and me-work: Reassess the use of your real estate to accommodate a more flexible work schedule and focus on collaborative spaces. The pandemic has accelerated the concept of free-address workspaces because this strategy lends itself to hybrid work. If only 50 percent of your employees are going to be in the office at any given time, consider using former employee workstations to create collaborative zones for group meetings and brainstorming.

3. Embrace technology and togetherness: There is no question that the pandemic has increased our reliance on technology to conduct meetings, share content and connect to our colleagues and customers. 

Invest in smart spaces with immersive tools that make content sharing and collaboration easier than it has ever been before. These tools make it easier to work in the office than at home, yet still allow you to connect to others outside your organization.

4. Flexibility is the future: Give users the freedom to move throughout space to areas and applications that allow them to do their best work for that particular task. This could be moving from one area of the floor plan to another to meet or concentrate, but it is also incorporating applications that are inherently flexible, allowing the user to easily change and move the pieces for a more agile way of working. 

Closing thought: Reinvigorate your space with elements that sing your company’s culture. Revisit your core values and work to give them a voice in your space. When a client or employee walks in, they should feel a connection to who you are and why you do what you do. Your space is an important tool to connect people to purpose and evoke loyalty to an organization. 

Custer, Inc.

Phone: (616) 458-6322

Website: custerinc.com

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