Workplace Disrupted: The New Age Design Factoring Remote Work

Design Oct 16 2020

The global pandemic has shown us the need for evolution in our ways of working and our workplaces. Remote work has been part of many organizational workplace strategies for some time now, but this crisis has allowed us to fully understand and adapt to the new normal. In new office trends, the rapid evolution of office technology is reshaping the traditional workspace and smart businesses know how to keep up.


Our collective experience of remote work has led many companies to allow employees to work from home permanently. But working from home all the time may not be the best option for everyone. Research shows that employers are facing difficulties with everyday remote work and employees are either burnt out or facing issues with productivity. Remote work will undoubtedly have a place in many of our lives but the workforce will also need a place where they can connect both with clients and their teammates for at least some of the workweek. Businesses need to adapt and reimagine work environments and create a flexible design to cater to the new needs of the workforce.

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How will remote working transform office design?


While a section of the workforce may be remote working, but a team still needs a location where they can meet and collaborate. How do we design a space when a significant portion of your workforce uses it rarely or not at all? Here are a few workplace and design strategies for offices that will be adopted by companies for their remote workers:


Decentralized offices


Companies are seeking a distributed network of third spaces that are local, to support people who can't work from home but aren't yet ready to use public transportation. Smaller Decentralized offices or a coworking space give the option of working in hubs across a city where they can walk to or bike to, it cuts down on commuting times and automobile emissions.


Acoustically sound spaces


When employees come into the office, they often feel like their home is quieter. In a noisy, open office, distractions are everywhere. Many companies are investing in acoustic panels. These additions absorb sound, where a hard surface would create echoes.  A lot of collaboration is happening in conference rooms, using video conferencing software and with remote working, the number of such spaces will need to increase.


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Technology connects


The new office design must have the technology features that connect your remote workforce with other key areas of your business. Companies are investing in conferencing software that allows team members to meet anywhere. Your flexible office design must be willing to cater to people whether they work from home, a cafe, the office, or potentially anywhere in the world. Technology calls for the demand for intelligent and dynamic space planning strategies. 


Amenities for relaxation


Remote employees who will travel to come to the office may not have time to drop by their hotel after stepping off a red-eye flight. Offering a few select amenities — like showers and nap pods— can help them relax and recuperate. An Office lunch facility is also a great way for remote employees to have social interaction. Office buildings without an on-site restaurant should organize catering for meetings that remote staff members have to attend. 


More lounge and breakout area


Flexible office design is creating more breakout space and lounge areas for their employees to work productively. Not everyone performs their best work from the traditional desk and chair design. The flexible office design is laid back. In fact, for employees that perform their best work in quiet areas soundproof work pods are becoming the norm. Workers will want the experience of working in the office to be as close as possible to what it's like to work from home.


Learn more about Post-covid Shared spaces

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Focus on health


Even when downsizing, a company should include an at-work fitness facility for its employees. If not business owners can even partner with nearby fitness centers to provide guest passes for their remote workers. They can also offer break time for workers with long shifts to help them relieve stress and build up their energy. 


Bye to designated workspaces


As more employees are working remotely, the traditional assigned desk for everyone is quickly fading. For staff who are working remotely and who are coming to the office, hot desking will be an apt choice. In fact, many offices are being designed to cater to collaborative workspaces and unassigned seating for remote workers that are in and out of the office. Many offices are geared towards clustered desks which insight teamwork and collaboration.


Learn more about Hot-desking


Activity-based working


Activity-based working increase creativity, productivity, and collaboration. As a flexible office design, it gives employees workspace options. Activity-based office design is creating an office that enhances efficiency. The traditional erogenous office design has shifted towards collaboration and productivity too by including a flexible office design. 


Learn more about Activity-based working

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Conclusion


As the world adapts to life during a pandemic, there are certain steps businesses can take now to prioritize the well-being and productivity of employees, as well as to make sure they're using their workspaces efficiently. Office design has changed considerably over the past ten years and will continue to do so with the adaptation of remote work. Businesses should design their office for optimal creativity and relaxation, no matter how often their staff is physically present.


When workers are primed to expect more comfortable work arrangements, a focus on technology, relaxation, and other popular amenities can draw employees to your office.  Flexible workplaces are becoming the new normal and your business must create or redesign their space to fit the new era.