The last couple of years have seen a lot of change as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. Nothing has been left untouched. While we have found ways to adapt to this change imposed by the pandemic such as zoom calls and social media, it doesn’t always replicate the exact feeling of before nor the benefits of in person communication. Many people have come to feel lonely and isolated at times as a result of working from home and others have found that its actually suited their lifestyle much better to not be based at the office 5 days a week. As a result, it is unsurprising that the office experience has changed as a result of the pandemic to cater for our experience during the time we spent working form home.
Many employees have spent the last few years working from home which has significantly increased feelings of isolation, loneliness and solitude. While working from home has it benefits, the lack of interaction and opportunity to socialise has really impacted the mental health and careers of many. If you think back to the times before Covid-19, the office was a central hub where all employees came together to discuss both personal and professional problems and build relationships but lockdown and the working from home advice took this away. Many felt that their development was limited as working from home does not provide opportunities for new and engaging conversation solving problems we face. As a result, on their return to the office, socialising became a major priority for many. Now, employees are wanting more of a social office experience of the work setting where they can gather for both formal and informal meeting and collaborate on projects and find solutions to problems they face. Areas such as coffee lounges, informal soft seating spaces and collaboration suites are the perfect solution to facilitate socialising within the work environment.
Flexibility and Choice
One benefit working from home gave many employees was the opportunity to choose where they worked. Whether that be the garden, the sofa, their bed, their desk, the dining table and so on, employees had options to work in a way that suited and motivated them. This flexibility and choice wasn’t provided in the previous working environment before Covid-19 but many became quickly very used to it. Now employees are looking for the same choice in the work environment having the option to work outside, from informal soft seating spaces, coffee lounges or more traditional design facilities. The benefit of having a workspace that provides variety of option is that employees can choose their work space based on the task at hand and their preferred work style. By giving employees choice around where and how thy work, it is proven to improve productivity and employee satisfaction.
As the world becomes more technologically advanced businesses and their working environments are having to keep up. Offices now required more than just WIFI and computers, many staff are now opting for laptops so they have the option to be much more mobile and office facilities need to be able to provide designated spaces for zoom calls. As well as this, many offices are now investing into technology for bookable meeting rooms, desk spaces and lockers which are all auto assigned when you sign into the building.
Wellness has become a major focus in life not just within the world of work. People are starting to understand the importance of wellness and mental health and the office experience needs to be able to support this. There are many ways the office can support employee wellness. One of the main ways is through biophilic design elements such as natural lighting, fresh air ventilation, outdoor workspaces and plants that breathe oxygen to name a few ways. However, many businesses are now going above and beyond this by providing meditation spaces, wellness rooms, fitness facilities and healthy food cafes to further support the wellness of their teams.