The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the world of work, with a global lockdown forcing organisations to adapt to remote working. As we move towards opening up again, employees are beginning to return to the workplace. However, this is in a very different capacity than the tradition of rows of private work desks, a staple of the working office over the last century. Instead, collaboration is at the forefront of the post COVID working space.
Traditionally, the office was a place where staff were assigned a specific desk and worked in a private booth, with very limited options for flexibility and home-working. The pandemic however, brought an extremely successful shift towards remote working with companies providing their staff with the required technologies such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, to facilitate an efficient work from home style over the last 18 months. To the surprise of many, home working has increased productivity, with a study by Stanford University of 16,000 workers over 9 months found that working from home increased productivity by 13% compared to office work. Moreover, in June 2020, 28% of employers surveyed by the CIPD said they felt remote working improved worker productivity levels. This has incentivised companies to introduce a hybrid working approach, with many employees choosing to spend most of their working hours within their homes, reducing the demand for private desk space within the office.
So, with this in mind, businesses now have the opportunity to show up differently, looking to create workspaces specifically designed to support the kind of interactions that cannot happen remotely, converting individual space into collaborative space and social environments where workers can benefit from face-to-face interaction. Using lounge chairs around coffee tables, clusters of bar height furniture of the option of more privacy with booths, business can provide a comfortable hub for employees to work efficiently in groups or individually if required. By creating spaces that are flexible and more comfortable, the work place transforms to an appealing destination that employees can move in and out of to gain that human interaction that has been greatly missed, rather than a full-time obligation.