Not one of our companies will emerge from this Coronavirus pandemic the same. Nor should our workspace, or it will be redundant. If it’s not upsizing or downsizing the workforce, your organisation will be shifting to electronic and agile office working.
It’s pretty clear that after Covid-19, your office environment will need to change in some way, although, many of us do not know to what extent the workplace will change in any direction.
Accolade’s straightforward step-by-step guide will see your office, and ultimately you, through the next 6 months. It involves assisting you to stand back and take stock of the situation before proposing plenty of ways upsize/downsize your workspace or simply adapt in a quick, fluid way.
3 Steps to Plan
How many colleagues will return to the office?
Even beyond the government’s Covid-19 Q2 furlough promise, companies may face having to make some employees redundant. Or, if you are fortunate enough to be operating in the food and healthcare sector, you may be busy recruiting new staff to your team. It’s a tough thing to face but stand back and make a good guesstimate about how many of you will be returning to the office.
How have your processes changed during Covid-19?
Every company will have changed some way that their business continues to action core processes and this will have been a move to more flexible and online way of working, from daily scrums by Zoom to SaaS operational systems. For marketing, sales, operations and accounts, at the very least, get a basic understanding of how their working methods have changed.
How do you plan to do things when back to normal
Is productivity at an all-time high with home working or are your staff more engaged when they’re all back together sharing common vision and goals in the workplace?
When the lock-down is lifted, this will help decide whether your whole team should return to the office on a full time basis or whether you implement flexible working program to allow home working for some of the days.
Also find out how home working is going for individual employees? Some of Accolade’s clients are desperate to be back in the office where they can work with all their resources to hand. However, others have experienced higher productivity where there has been a drive to new software. In other words what processes should mirror pre-Covid-19 ones and what will procedures will change?
Steps for Action
Downscale your operations
Covid-19 has been really tough for organisations working in the non-essential industries. We have consolidated some bullet points to help you quickly make your office fit for purpose and employee morale high.
Re-purpose your furniture
Banks of desks can become collaborative tables by removing desk mounted dividers. Why not make a feature of surplus shelf units and cupboards with planting, certificates and creative displays?
Give redundant office furniture to local charities
Many will offer a free collection service. Helping others less fortunate is a boost and you don’t have to pay disposal fees.
Let/sublet your offices
Office partitioning can be installed very quickly to split your office down into more than one unit. There will be others looking to downsize their offices too and, particularly if you are flexible, they will be glad of swift and straightforward leasing solution.
This is really a last resort as there are a number of expenses involved with a move itself. Chances are that you haven’t reached the end of your lease too. However, if you have suffered permanent, irreparable damage to your revenue, then this may be the only option to release cash.
See our guide to: Relocating To Leased Offices? Beware Hidden Fees?
Upscale your operations rapidly
A few of our clients are growing… and fast. When it’s time to migrate back to the office, how do you create enough capacity for them all?
If home working has worked well for you, decide whether you could create a rota of staff attending the office so that you have enough capacity for the staff on a daily basis.
Does everybody in your need a desk in the office all day? This usually applies to sales staff… Furthermore, is the workstation size right for them too?
“We needed to upgrade our desking without disrupting daily workflow and Accolade enabled us to do just that. They were flexible to complete each office area at the most convenient time, working in the quieter hours at the start and end of the day. The new desks have not only upgraded our image but allowed us to accommodate far more staff without cramping, and better equipping us to modern working styles with neat cable trays under each desk run.”
Nicola Gates, Westgate Group
Maximise Support Spaces
Is your staff canteen empty between 9 and 12? This space could hold several informal meetings.
Why not split meeting rooms up if you rarely fill them to capacity. A couple of Zoom rooms in the space of one meeting room could be used so much more frequently. Or the space could be integrated with the office to increase occupancy… The options are endless really.
Explore this with our guide to: How to Make Agile Working, Work For You
Maybe it’s simply that ‘How we do things’ has changed. Look at your layout.
Take a look at your office layout, your office interiors partner should have produced one for you. Does it fit the way that you now work? Some of the following questions will help you decide:
Will the capacity of every meeting room be about 80%?
- Yes: you have got it right.
- No: Can they be given over to other more pressing uses?
Due to changing needs, we have been dividing offices into smaller Zoom rooms or incorporating them into the office to provide greater occupancy capacity.
Will your office still motivate your staff to come in?
o Simple changes such as sprucing up the walls with graphics and plain tops with planting helps to emphasise that the chapter post Covid-19 is a new start, with novel challenges and fresh optimism.
Does your workplace make it easy for the team to work?
- Can your workers concentrate when they need to?
Can your staff find desk space when they need it?
- Is there a strong Wi-fi connection throughout the office?
- Can your staff meet up when they need to?
What devices do your team rely upon?
- Mostly laptops: desk size is vastly reducing and where desks are larger, companies are allocating 2 users to each desk.
Or, one large communal table provides a more flexible option for up to 10 staff to work, each using just as much space as they need. Soft seating with charging points for a long call or private booths for concentration work provides variety, as well as being a cool back drop video calls.
- PCs: Often found in accounts or design departments where high security or high capacity makes a laptop impractical. Plenty of workspace is often appreciated by these departments where processes can be highly personal and complicated.
Where these larger desk positions are needed, nearby storage, such as cupboards, is usually essential.
Do you need all of that storage?
- Yes: Great
- No: With the move to electronic working and cloud storage, so many have moved away from physical storage. Is every cupboard earning its keep? You’d be surprised how much elbow room you could create!
Did you know, an extra monitor could take away that paper based reference and create even more space!
Also remember that your coffee supplies order may differ from before the Coronavirus outbreak and no-one wants to be without… or trying to consume twice the amount to get through the surplus! Change may be small or great but whatever steps you take, they will keep your workplace working for you.
With an open mind, solutions can be quick, flexible and a game changer. For more information about office design in a post pandemic world or to start an office fit out, simply contact us today. – Or team are happy to assist.