Reopening resources

Embracing a New Normal

If you have not already, are you ready to open your doors?

Person wrapped in caution tape with sign that says COVID-19

It’s no secret this has been an unprecedented time when it comes to what working looks like. While most businesses are fairly well equipped to handle remote working, a recent study from the Gensler Research Institute found that 70% of workers want to work in the office for a majority of the week.

As you open, be prepared for your younger workers to be the first through the door, as Millennials and Gen Z workers feel less productive and less satisfied with their work from home experience than Gen X and Baby Boomers. Half of Millennials and Gen Z find avoiding distractions harder at home and only 35% feel that they have made a difference at the end of the workday. Being back in the physical office can help improve the productivity and morale amongst your younger workers.

However, even amongst Millennials and Gen Z, there are changes in the office your workers expect when they arrive. Are you prepared to open your office while meeting the expectations of your team?

Workers want specific changes made before they feel comfortable coming into the office, and this shows how things have changed since the pre-COVID era. While open floor plans and unassigned workstations have been growing in popularity, workers are now expecting more separation between desks for social distancing and assigned stations for sanitary purposes. After getting used to the quiet of working from home (at least for those without young children!), workers are also hoping to see issues with noise transference in the office addressed.

While some of your employees are eagerly awaiting a return to the office, some of your people would still prefer flexibility. If you don’t have the real estate to spread out desks, considering a flex schedule for employees to come in at will or on alternating days can give your workers the flexibility they want while allowing for social distancing.

Are you prepared to meet these challenges? Here are some things you might need to consider:

  • Furniture rearrangement and new space planning
  • Sound masking technology
  • Regular sanitation services and stations
  • Stricter policies against coming into the office sick
  • Flexible office days for those who prefer to spend more time at home

55% of workers want to see stricter sick policies, 52% want more opportunities to work from home, and 50% want increased office cleaning. While most workers are wanting a return to the office, they want the return to be safe.

73% of workers strongly endorse social distancing and 68% want to reduce the number of shared workspaces. For most offices, this could be the hardest part of reopening the office. Rearranging your office to accommodate more assigned stations while also more space between workers feels like a paradox. Space planning is an ongoing pain for office planning even without the conditions of a pandemic.

If this feels like an overwhelming task, we at Workscapes have been designing office layouts for over 20 years. We have been helping companies through this time find the solution that will best suit their workers needs while also keeping them safe. Please contact us if you need any assistance with preparing your office to meet your team’s needs.

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