The past couple of years have not been kind to the humble office. Companies have no choice but to leave their offices in early 2020 to work from home to curb the spread of the coronavirus. For over two years, most offices around the globe sat empty, without their busy employees bustling around, except for some skeleton staff and key workers. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing down, employees are starting to come back and offices are beginning to become busy and lively once again.
However, the question many business owners and employees are still keen to ask and know the answer to is: what will the future of the workplace look like in a post-COVID-19 world? As early as this year, workplace trends are already beginning to emerge as companies slowly open their offices again. To find out what you can possibly expect from your business’ workplace in the post-pandemic setting, here are some of the most common workplace trends this 2022.
Flexibility suitable for hybrid working arrangements
The coming of the pandemic has made businesses recognise the benefits of a hybrid workplace. Now, more and more companies are already adopting the hybrid workplace model where they allow their employees to have a combination of in-office and remote work. With the increase in convenience and productivity and the use of online meeting options, this trend of hybrid work arrangements will ultimately dictate how offices will look in the coming months.
If your company is adopting the hybrid model, you may need to reevaluate your office’s structure and layout now. Is it still necessary to have 15 desks when only 8 are being used? Is the conference room still utilised as often as it was before? It isn’t just about finding the right office space to save cost. Having hot desks can also allow different employees to utilise the same space whilst using the rest of the available space for other options.
Broader connectivity and smart buildings
The constant advancement of technology and broadening connectivity, coupled with the work from home and hybrid setups accelerated by the pandemic, have freed entrepreneurs and employees from some of the constraints of geography. During the global health crisis, a great number of people became more acquainted with digital technologies and programs like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.
This 2022, you can expect offices and furniture to support online meetings made possible with videoconferencing apps. Businesses will invest in work booths with monitors and acoustic pods to make sure their staff remain connected, even while working remotely. Plus, traditional meeting rooms are predicted to be replaced by ‘Zoom Rooms’ where ceiling baffles and acoustic panels are to be installed.
Aside from increased online access, advanced facility technologies, such as touchless doors and thermal imaging systems, are expected to increase in number, as more and more companies aim to have “smart” buildings. These kinds of technologies will further enable managers and employees to move easily around the office and will facilitate company compliance with health protocols.
21st-century workplaces have been trying their best to be as inclusive as possible. In line with this, many companies have introduced several considerate developments into their offices with the intent of making all their employees, regardless of age, sex, gender, and so on, feel comfortable. Among the concepts being considered by numerous businesses when designing their workplace now is the idea of neurodiversity.
Neurodiversity refers to the differences in people’s brain functions and the varying approaches they take when interpreting information. Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Dyspraxia are all examples of neurodiverse conditions. As businesses become increasingly aware of the concept of neurodiversity, they also become more inclined to have office designs that provide people with options as to where they can conduct their work, depending on their psychological needs and wellbeing.
As awareness of environmental degradation increases, sustainability is becoming an essential factor that companies consider when carrying out their business operations and laying out their office designs. Nowadays, business owners are already hiring office interior design companies to ask them to look for ways to make their offices more environmentally sustainable.
There are actually numerous ways to build a workplace with sustainability in mind. You can use LED lighting, take advantage of passive ventilation and natural light, incorporate high-efficiency systems, utilise low-emission materials, and repurpose furniture, among others. By introducing these sustainable practices into your office, your business can help lessen the environmental impact of pollution and wastage.
Over the last 24 months, the working landscape has evolved and transformed so much that offices seem to have taken a new identity, far from the traditional, rigid, and careless workplaces the world came to know.
With the pandemic continuously revealing many things businesses can improve on, you can expect more changes in the workplace to still take place in the coming months. From work schedules and arrangements to commercial office interior designs in Singapore, everything about the workplace is changing to cater to the needs of a post-COVID-19 world. We hope these points bring new awareness as we prepare for a dynamic and evolving workplace to suit not just our employees but also to answer the challenges ahead.