Many have enjoyed dodging the grind of the daily commute, spending more time with family or raiding the fridge between Zoom calls. But there are also distractions to deal with – from daily chores to lively children, or the loneliness of working in isolation. After months of lockdowns, the experience of a shared workplace will have a greater appeal than working from kitchen tables or the spare room.
This year, more than ever, is an opportunity to ensure that employees look forward to travelling into the office – whether that’s every day or once a month. Most people will be coming into the office to meet, collaborate, access specialist facilities or to soak up the office atmosphere while they work. It is vital that the focus is on building a sense of community and shared purpose – all wrapped up in a more flexible, higher quality environment.
Winning hearts and minds
Creating a positive workplace experience is primarily about behaviours and how the spaces are used. In this sense, while good design is important, function must come before style. This might mean bringing in dedicated ‘branded’ spaces with a unique identity. For instance, a space to touch base with colleagues around food or coffee, and to celebrate human interaction over digital exchange, while we are back in the office. Not all areas in the workplace should be dedicated to work specifically – there will always be times when people need to separate themselves from their daily tasks.
Our solution to this is to create ‘sanctuary’ spaces – these are fully technology-free, immersive green spaces for calm and respite.
The importance of communication cannot be overstated here. Returning to a different kind of office has the potential to be off-putting. Managing and communicating this change in advance and letting people know how they can use and experience these spaces will help them to feel welcome and comfortable.