Beautiful office space
Beautiful office interior

Optimising Office Space Post Covid

If there’s one good thing to come out of the pandemic, it’s the light that’s been shone on ineffective workplace practices. Being forced to work from home – or at least have large portions of staff working from home – has highlighted what we really do and don’t need when it comes to office space. Here at Dufaylite, like many other workplaces no doubt, we’ve had a whirlwind of changes, so we’ve put together some thoughts on optimising office space for a post-covid office.

Socially distanced office
1. Until Covid is over, optimise by distancing

This point goes partially without saying. But it is worth reiterating that even with mass vaccinations rolling out, it’s not yet time to let our guard down. The first dose of vaccinations only gives people partial protection. So even as things start to normalise, going back to work in the office will still mean having distancing measures in place.

One way to do this is to rotate which teams come into work. Having an awareness of which teams are able to remain effective while working remotely means that you can more efficiently use your office space for the teams that need a physical space while still making it possible to keep people apart.

Multi purpose office space
2. Multipurpose your office space

Just because people don’t need to come into the office to do their everyday work doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t come into the office for other reasons. The challenge is figuring out what your business most needs people to be physically present for, and create spaces in your office to facilitate that.

For example, if you regularly film videos in your office, you likely used whichever sofa was free to do so. Why not create a whole studio area instead where you can have a consistent, high quality environment to film in?

More traditionally, you can still use your office space for meetings such as important client meetings, team brainstorming sessions, or management discussion and planning.

And don’t forget the social aspect of being in a workplace. When we can get back together again, it’ll be great to be able to do so socially. Some office spaces offer perfect opportunities to be converted into areas that staff can relax in while doing work, but also meet up in after work.

Woman working in shared office space
3. Hot desk your office desks

How people want to work, and how they work best, depends on them individually as well as their circumstances. Offering hot-desking options frees up space that would otherwise be reserved for a particular member of staff (and used infrequently) and allows members of staff to work in-office when they need to.

There are many reasons why staff may want to work flexibly, and being able to have an option of a permanent desk (for those who come in most days of the week) or have a hot-desk solution (for those who mostly work remotely) gives staff the freedom to get work done as it suits them. In doing so, you allow your staff to work in the best environment for them, leading to greater productivity overall.

Smiling businessman cycling to work
4. Localised, shared office space

If your company is large, it may be worth considering downsizing your headquarters office and making use of localised co-working spaces. Employees spend a huge amount of time getting to and from work, so being able to get to a great workspace within a short amount of time, makes a significant difference to people’s day.

Not just that, it allows your employees to network with everyone else sharing that co-working space. Staff are happier being able to separate their home and work lives – and are also able to socialise as needed.

5. Optimise layout for useful tasks

However your business works, there are certain tasks that employees do that hugely benefit the business. Organise spaces to encourage these tasks.

And this still applies for primarily computer-based tasks. Just because all of the work done is on a computer doesn’t mean that a person is in the same headspace for each of these tasks.

To an extent, this isn’t a new idea – sales teams are usually sat together, admin teams are sat together, management teams often sit together – but more could be done to enhance this. Having useful, shared physical resources also means that when a member of a team needs something, they don’t necessarily need to disturb anyone.

If members in the team regularly need to make calls, perhaps there’s a way to use cubicles so that they can talk privately and undisturbed.

Or otherwise, things like motivational imagery, useful charts and cheatsheets, or snacks more particularly suited to that team are great ways to optimise different areas for different tasks.

Don’t be afraid to speak to your employees for their input either. You’ll often be surprised by ideas or problems that you hadn’t thought of – and employees will often thank you for it.

Office with lots of greenery
6. Invest in aesthetics

The aesthetics of a workplace make a real difference to how people feel while working. We’ve noticed since the general shift to working from home is that the people who have switched to generally working remotely have also invested to make that space nicer for them to work in.

That’s usually through engaging wall colours, artwork, bookshelves, and plants. Plants especially help to filter air so that workspaces don’t become so stuffy during the cold winter months.

We spend time to make other spaces inviting and comfortable – we lay out our bedrooms so we can sleep well, our dining rooms so we can eat well, and our living rooms so we can easily relax – so why would we not do the same for our workspaces? After all, they’re the spaces we spend most of daily life in.

Excited to be changing how you work? Let us know what changes you’re making.

22 April 2021