CHANGES IN OFFICE ENVIRONMENT
Written by: Erin Pawlak
Originally from Chicago, Erin Pawlak currently attends The Ohio State University where she majors in Marketing and minors in Real Estate. She works as an Intern with Colliers | Columbus in the Research department, providing support for, and working on, special projects with the Senior Research Coordinator. Keep reading to get Erin’s take on changes that are occurring in the office environment.
Over the last year, the office sector has seen a major shift in office design, buildout and safety precautions. The pandemic has forever changed the way people work and has forced companies to rethink the way they design their office spaces and, overall, how they continue their day-to-day operations. Companies not only have to change the design and buildout of their office space but must also consider the technological advances being made during the pandemic, all while ensuring the health and safety of their employees.
Hybrid Work Environment
When companies begin discussing how they are going to incorporate a hybrid work environment, they must consider several things. First, they need to think about how they are going to allow their employees to split their work week between working from home and working in office. Over the last year, employees have adapted to the work from home environment, and moving forward might want the flexibility to split their work week between their home and office. Stemming from having a split schedule, when employees are in the office, they are going to want a more homelike atmosphere with a residential feel. In addition to traditional desk spaces, there is going to be a desire for comfortable seating areas and an open floor concept and companies are also going to need to consider what lighting, textures, and décor they want to include in their office to give off a homelike ambiance when employees are working in the office.
Masks, Sanitization and Signage
Even with the vaccine rollout in full force, companies are still going to need to have policies put into place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For the foreseeable future, masks are going to be required to be worn when in the office. Additionally, companies will need to include sanitizing stations throughout the building so that employees can disinfect when they’re moving around the office. Finally, offices still need to be cautious and include signage that controls the flow of employees in and out of the building. Signage can also include reminders to sanitize workstations, wear masks, and remain socially distanced from others.
As we move forward in the hybrid work environment, companies are going to need to continue considering how to make communication through technology as seamless as possible. With some employees working from home and others going into the office, there is going to be a demand for more online meeting platforms. Being in this remote environment for over a year, there have been many technological advances. However, companies must continue to adapt as technology evolves in regard to remote work. Additionally, companies will have to figure out how to offer technology such as monitors and laptops for their employees who are still working remotely.