It’s finally time to consider the reality of returning to work and the silver linings of the past year away from the office. Firstly, many of us had the opportunity to build better work habits, and secondly, employers had time to reconsider what makes a workplace conducive to happy and productive teams. We predict post-COVID office trends that include everything from upgraded commercial office furniture to relaxed attitudes about employee self-expression.
For employers who want to make significant changes, it’s anything but too late. And for the CFOs who watch the company’s bottom line, there are ways to start small. Even one alteration makes a difference after more than a year away from the workplace.
Post-COVID Office Trends
Acoustic furniture for privacy.
One of the biggest post-COVID workplace design trends we predict is the addition of acoustic chairs, pods, benches, and panels. If your office hasn’t yet incorporated sound-dampening furniture into its commercial office space, now is the time.
Acoustic furniture is a perfect solution for creating private, individual workspaces and intimate meeting spots. After a year to perfect the ideal personal WFH workspace, comfy places will be an attractive and functional way to get away from the office table environment for a while. Whether you include an entirely separate touchdown space that incorporates privacy pods or acoustic panels in your modular workstations, sound-abortion is practical and an attractive way to please the team post-COVID.
A sense of self.
In the post-COVID office, employers, consider letting your employees express themselves more than you may have in the past. If the office protocol has been to maintain a sterile work desk, how about allowing individuals to decorate their modern cubicle with some family photos, small pieces of artwork, or a meaningful tchotchke? Their office table probably had a personal feel that gave them a sense of joy during their time working from home. As long as it’s tasteful, it shouldn’t harm anyone.
Cleanable and hygienic surfaces and stations.
Has anyone ever sanitized their hands and homes as much as during the pandemic? This habit won’t stop when we return to work post-COVID. As for an office trend post-pandemic, we recommend a sharp focus on cleanable, hygienic practices. Modern workstations now use cleanable non-porous materials such as laminates, acrylics, and marker-board. Additionally, they have tall partitions that act as sneeze and cough guards.
Furthermore, add a few stations throughout the workplace for handwashing and sanitizing. Make them attractive and touchless for extra precautions.
Bring the color back.
After a long year, we all could use more color. From fresh coats of paint on walls to blooming plants, there are lots of ways to brighten your commercial space.
Another smart option is adding vibrant modern cubicles. These office solutions are attractive and healthy options for employees as they offer social distancing and ergonomic and acoustic features.
Post-COVID office design trends like conveniently located small meeting spaces can nudge people to take a short walk to the meeting.
Create group nudges.
Those of us who have worked from home may have had the flexibility to change our scenery during the day. Post-COVID office design trends like conveniently located small meeting spaces can nudge people to take a short walk to the meeting.
Likewise, social spaces (think cafeterias and breakrooms) located on main circulation routes or in prominent locations within the building can nudge workers to take a break, interact with a work friend, and feel recharged.
Returning to work post-COVID will require an adjustment period. Still, there are many things to look forward to, including time with coworkers, reestablishing routine, and the feeling of normalcy. With changes to the commercial workplace’s physical space and company culture, coming back will be a smoother and more hospitable transition.