If your business is looking at a return to the office in 2022, the biggest questions may be centring on what you need to change to ensure that it remains a safe place to work. You're not alone; most firms will be making adjustments to their offices in the coming months, some more than others, to ensure that everyone will be able to work comfortably and in a way they enjoy.

But where to start? In a post-COVID setting, office space planning will arrange office layouts so that employees are able to work safely yet be provided with the best opportunity to create an efficient workflow, be able to communicate and be supervised. The main aim of OSP is to increase productivity, whilst still maintaining (and often, improving) the quality of work produced; improving an employee's enjoyment of their workday is key in realising these aims.

Here, we're going to take a look at the different elements that will apply to a workplace post-COVID, giving you an idea of what you'll need to do in your own office.

Office space planning for the return to work

Planning your return to the office

  • Communication and training. The workplace from 2022 will be different from those pre-COVID, with new policies and practices that will need to be shared openly across the business. Training should be offered to employees remotely prior to the reintroduction into the office – communication must be handled clearly, and opinion monitored and experienced through constant feedback.
  • Shift working. Staggering employee hours is a good way to spread out office occupancy over more hours, catering for flexi-time requests or any capacity changes due to social distancing measures. You should decide how to communicate new working patterns, as well as how you're going to assign shifts – desk booking systems are great at allocating workspace and monitoring occupancy.

Employee health, wellbeing & equipment

  • Wellbeing and inclusivity. The health and wellbeing of employees is paramount in returning to the workplace. It's important to take on board their sentiment within your office space planning – whether or not they are ready and able to go back to the office, and if not, what can be done to ensure they're still able to work. This same consideration should be applied to safety measures such as providing PPE, social distancing layouts, and air quality. Risk assessments should be carried out prior to occupation to ensure everything can be put in place.
  • Working from home. If there are agreements in place for employees to work from home, how will it be supported? How will employees who work from home be assessed in terms of wellbeing, sentiment, and performance?
  • Technology considerations. As shared equipment (without strict sanitation measures) aren't viable, you should consider technology that each individual can use that will enable communication and efficiency. You should consider increased provisions for video calls, ensure everyone has the right tools and training to stay connected and consider how you plan to monitor performance remotely.

The office space planning process

  • Your building's operation. You will need to work with your landlord/building managers to create a safe operating plan for the building. When agreed, you should clearly communicate the plan to all occupants – visitors to your office, as well as your staff.
  • Office design and layout. Depending on the results of your risk assessment and employee sentiment surveys, the current layout may have to be adapted during office space planning. The space can be redesigned to adhere to all requests, while still remaining a highly functional and inspiring place to be.
  • Cleaning and maintenance. Any building that has been unoccupied for some time will need thorough checks of its HVAC, mechanical, and its effect on public health prior to occupation. You should identify and carry out the checks that your workplace needs and speak to the landlord to understand when maintenance checks will be completed for the building. A new sanitation routine should be developed, and its extent and frequency should be communicated to all occupants.

So, if you're looking to take a new approach with your office space planning, why not get in touch with the experienced office design team here at Oaktree Interiors who can advise you on the next, best steps to take?

Create your ideal office interiors, with Oaktree

For over 30 years, we have been creating bespoke work environments for a myriad of businesses; from recent start-ups, looking to make a mark in their industry, to established firms that are looking to reimagine the impact that their interiors have. No matter your requirements or line of work, we have a proven track record of working closely with our clients to achieve their ideal fit-out.

To learn more about our service, which includes a FREE no-obligation consultancy, please do nothesitate to give us a call today on 034521 86955. Alternatively, you can contact us by e-mail at hello@oaktreeoffice.com

Leave a Comment