• Jenny Whittingham

COVID-19 & Future Office Design

Our personal and working lives have been turned upside down. Months of forced lockdowns and tier restrictions have forced us to take part in the world’s biggest ‘work-from-home’ experiment, so how will our working lives be resumed and impacted in the post-pandemic workplace?




Some argue that the workplace offers us a second home. The place where we solve problems separate to our private lives, create solutions with likeminded people (more heads are better than one) as well as the all-important bonds with people and camaraderie that can last a lifetime.


For a number of businesses, there is simply no choice. Their staff must work from a central point to ensure data security. If a business does have a choice and home working is a viable solution, they must decide whether the cost savings outweigh the benefits of bringing a team together face to face. Businesses must also contemplate that they would be better to provide a more nurturing environment at work so that they are enticed to leave their homes and re-join the gruelling daily commute.


The Office of the Future


Despite the trauma COVID-19 has presented us it won’t remain this way forever. There will be some point in time that social distancing will no longer be an issue. That’s not saying there will never be a similar crisis in future, but the office of the future should be designed on lessons learned today and the possibility of a future out-break at some point in time. Our long term care as designers is to the people working within these environments to ensure their health and safety is paramount. This pandemic has proved more than ever that physical health is just as important as mental health.


Offices need to become ‘destinations’ which involves more creative effort in getting there but the benefits reaped would truly make it worth the extra effort. Therefore breathing new life into our old familiar workplace is crucial for the future. How does your workplace make you feel? How are we treated in them and why should we bother making the journey?


Design


Our first impression when entering the office should be well designed branding combined with a strong sense of arrival. Elements of design drawn from boutique hospitality and co-working venues will inspire a team’s sense of pride and defined purpose. The brightest and best talents will be drawn to these companies with a stronger sense of desire and belonging. There will be a shift towards multi purposed activity based working, in environments that stimulate group dynamics encouraging agility and creativity. It is the emphasis of creating a community within an organisation. A positive experience within the workplace. The support network becomes the new destination and such elements naturally reinforce a sense of togetherness.


Mental Health


Staff wellbeing must be at the forefront of business ideas. Companies who genuinely believe in listening to their people and attending to their needs will find themselves in pole position. A fresh connection with nature will be a reassuring element to the office space with natural materials, living plants and colour palettes to reflect this to ground your soul and boost wellbeing.


Culture and company values need to be authentic and tangible, inspiring the highest levels of productivity. The sense of cohesion contributing to pushing forward the boundaries of innovation and productivity.


Technology


People who have the choice to work from home will continue to access better conferencing tools, sanitation schedules could be based on our movements within the office using mobile tracking tools. Contactless door entry systems and thermal imaging to gauge our body temperature. This is only accessed by a few currently but as with all technology it will filter down to become affordable to the everyday office environment.


Conclusion


Reimagined offices provide us with the space to converge, learn, grown, innovate, inspire and create together in a real place and redesigned as a safe space of the future. Our offices will still be needed we just need to redefine the need as a destination tailored to the type of work we do.


Jenny Whittingham design offer a comprehensive office fit out with work place assessments and full branding strategies. Get in touch with us today to request your office fit out brochure and together we can redefine your destination of the future.


www.JennyWhittingham.com

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