Every neighborhood has a unique look and atmosphere and so does your office environment. Single-family homes, apartments, local coffee shops, eateries, and parks make your neighborhood distinct from others. The same goes with the office, especially now. When comparing pre-covid / post-covid office design, we realize how important all the different components that make our “office neighborhoods” really are.
Your office should have a unique look and feel based on your company’s culture, branding, and the personalities of employees in their respective positions. Work environments should feel welcome and comfortable.
The neighborhood feel of a company’s office is going to be different than an employee’s home office.
Design your space for movement, mutual support, and the connections that won’t be made anywhere else.
Pre-COVID and Post-COVID Office Comparisons
Comparisons between pre-covid / post-covid office cultures are staggering. Telecommuting has been around for a couple of decades, but the shutdown radically popularized the concept of working remotely.
Photo: SitOnIt Seating Novo Chair
Pre-COVID, the City of Los Angeles had only 35 of about 50,000 employees working remotely, according to a write-up on the tech industry website dot.LA.
Suddenly, in March 2020 about 18,000 employees were allowed to work remotely. And in mid-2021, it was estimated that 60% of the city’s workforce could work a hybrid schedule.
Now that the shutdown is a fading memory, many companies expect employees to spend more time in the office and there’s less enthusiasm for hybrid schedules among big corporations.
By summer 2022, a CNN report noted that Goldman Sachs had all employees back in the office full-time while 90% of JP Morgan’s staff returned at least three days a week.
Give them a place where they’ll look forward to being in. A well-planned environment helps employees feel fully engaged.
Many workers believe they were just as, if not more, productive at home when the pandemic hit as they were in the office. According to career research firm Zippia, about 2/3rds of Americans work remotely, at least part-time. And they like it because they cut down on commute times and feel productive.
But here’s where the office setting has an edge over a home office or other remote locations.
About half of those surveyed reported that they feel lonely at least once a week. Digging deeper, we find that 19% of work-from-home employees stated “Isolation” as their #1 problem, and 70% felt left out of their workplace.
Build a community feel in your office to engage your employees so they have a positive vibe when coming to the main office.
Turning Data into Office Planning Strategies
Businesses are successful when they meet needs in the marketplace. What if you treated your employees like they were the customers of your in-office brand?
Yes, they have to meet company goals, but if they’re satisfied with the support they receive in their immediate environment then they’ll feel engaged in their work. They’ll make it through daily challenges, and morale will remain positive.
That alone will give your firm a boost over the competition.
Developing an office that has a neighborhood vibe requires thorough planning for space allotment and functionality.
Workstations as Neighborhoods
The aim of the office isn’t just to get work accomplished, because that can be done remotely for many positions. But the purpose is to bring people together in support of company goals even if employees aren’t there 40 hours a week.
Organize workstations for an efficient flow of tasks and the sharing of mission-critical information. Bring one department together in one area, or create specific project areas if people from different departments and skills are needed.
Your neighborhood can change and adapt as projects start and finish.
The DeskMakers TeamWorx Open Plan Desking allows for numerous configurations so your team can give input on how their neighborhood is established.
Photo: DeskMakers TeamWorx Open Plan Desking
Gathering Spots as Neighborhoods
Just like the General Store is a symbol of where communities gather, your office can have important gathering spots. What better place to start than a conference setting, breakroom, or lounge area?
Photo: OFS Brands Riff Table
Elevate your conference room from the mundane to a place of inspiration. Select décor that puts the mind at ease. One way is to bring in nature by making green walls with the Nevins Bio Canvas Frame. These acoustic moss frames require no maintenance.
Equip your room with stylish and sleek tables that foster open collaboration and fit well within the space.
Photo: Stylex Verve Chairs
Add character to your meeting areas and equip them with the latest distance communication capabilities by using solutions like the OFS Obeya Architectural Structure.
Photo: OFS Brands Obeya Architectural Structure
Bring flair to your breakroom and lounge with furnishings that allow for either face-to-face chats or personal private moments in the same setting.
Consider the ERG International Laguna Lounge Seating which is perfect for a range of public settings and common areas like cafes and lobbies. It’s constructed for maximum enjoyment and reduces the need to constantly shift positions.
Photo: ERG International Laguna Lounge Seating
Outdoor Spaces as Neighborhoods
Your outdoor areas may be limited, but it’s crucial to make use of them. Natural light is vital for our well-being and even small patio areas can be reserved for work, periods of relaxation, or as meeting areas.
Set up a canopy, provide durable seating like the SitOnIt Seating InFlex Chair, and use a sturdy table made with steel and aluminum, like the classic-looking Allermuir Turo Table. These options make it easy to freshen up outside.
Photo: Allermuir Turo Table
Turn to 2010 Office Furniture
Wrestling with pre-covid / post-covid office design and ideas? The experts at 2010 Office Furniture can help, with more than a combined half-century of servicing and supplying clients who are among Southern California’s largest corporations, nonprofit organizations, and robust small businesses.
Contact them with your space planning and furnishing questions and needs to make your office space not only more functional, but a desirable place to work.
Read Also: Design Your Office Space as a Welcome Gathering Place
Main Photo: Trendway Vollo Wall
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Allermuir, DeskMakers, ERG International, OFS Brands, SitOnIt Seating and Stylex Seating