As workplaces around the world are slowly beginning to re-open in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, there are measures that need to be implemented before anyone is able to take their seats. One of the major aspects is social distancing; as space is at a premium in many offices, a rethink on how it's used will be required for businesses to operate safely.

By using intelligent office refurbishment methods, any business can get the most from their current space; creating a safe and functional environment for employees to work in. In this blog, we're going to cover some of the benefits that can be experienced by refurbishing the current office space; both in the short and long-term.

The benefits of an office refurbishment in a post-COVIDworkplace.

Offers the best balance between office and home working.

There's no doubt that COVID has changed the way we work; but it's also changed how we will view 'the workplace' in the future. Despite the vast majority of us having been working remotely for months, growing used to the practice, it's unlikely that we will give up on the idea of going to an (external) office altogether.

Whether it's for better connectivity,inclusion amongst colleagues or for a separation of our home-work life, there are many benefits that a centralised office has on the home one. The structure and community of the office is a particular aspect that many home workers have been missing out on; whilst working from home may help with some things,there's undoubtedly plenty of other aspects that make a centralised office worth having around.

As such, employers should treat the returnto work as an opportunity to combine the best of both worlds through an office refurbishment; the comforts andconvenience provided by the home, with optimal connectivity and community ofthe central office.

Improves existing technological connectivity.

A clear result of the workforce's shift to remote working has been a renewed appreciation for high-quality technology. Many of us will have been let down by technology at some point in recent months; from those video calls that won't connect, to the time-sensitive e-mails that won't send; these tech hiccups not only cause a sense of frustration, but they can lead to major dips in productivity too.

With these experiences, the office we return to will need to incorporate high-quality technology that caters for reliable communication channels; enabling employees to increasingly be used to working remotely. Improving existing audiovisual amenities and introducing a high-speed internet network can provide a more streamlined way of working; not only helping to improve productivity but also preventing those small tech frustrations from growing into a great source of stress too.

Places more focus on the physical elements of the office.

Working from home and having a greater control over the environment we labour in has been an important reminder form any of us that the physical environment of the office has a big impact on our productivity and well-being. Aspects such as natural light and air quality, for example, can have a significant effect on our mental and physical health. Unsuitable furniture can cause significant physical stress and possibly lead to long-term injuries. As we spend so many hours working in the same environment,planning for these factors during an office refurbishment is important to protect the workforce.

Creating workspaces that have access to natural light and outdoor areas are a positive step to make in ensuring a comfortable environment; other options include specialised lighting that mimics natural light. Then there are objects with digital capabilities, such as smart windows and sensor technology that can help to manage the lighting controls and ventilation. While having the right lighting can provide comfort (and reduce eye strain), using ergonomic furniture can reduce the risk of physical injury; sit-stand desks and high-quality chairs can ensure healthier working for extended periods of time. This is a welcome change from sitting on a sofa or using a make-shift desk at home!

As the well-being and physical health of employees will be at the top of the agenda in the aftermath of this pandemic,such solutions will be expected to become commonplace in future office designs.

Elevates workplace well-being.

It's no surprise that uncertainty and anxiety have been major features of the COVID situation; as a result, mental health has emerged as an issue that workers and their employers must safeguard.Some of the points we've already covered have a significant impact on mental well-being, but it's also important for the working environment to promote a sense of 'emotional well-being' too. Undertaking an office refurbishment can introduce areas in which a person can detach themselves from work and/or improve their mental and physical self;facilities such as quiet areas, social spaces, even cafes and gyms will soon become standard.

Grow a community through design.

As we would have spent a great deal of time away from colleagues during the pandemic, many of us have missed those simple human connections. This positive 'sense of community' is often an under appreciated element of office design; it has a major impact on productivity, motivation and well-being. Considering this, we should expect the 'workplace community' to be at the centre of post-COVID workplace refurbishment.

In the months to come, more offices will likely move towards introducing features that foster togetherness in the workplace(socially distanced, obviously!) Aspects like open plan floors and breakout areas (that promote collaboration and sociality) will become standard.

So if you're thinking about an office refurbishment for your business to ready it for the return to work (and the future beyond that), why not get in touch with our expert team who can advise you on the steps you need to take?

Grow a strong future for your workplace, with Oaktree Interiors.

Here Oaktree Interiors, we are a vastly experienced office design and build company, having carried out hundreds of fit out, refurbishment and relocation projects across London and the South East of England.

As a result of our innovative approach, we have established a leading service that has helped many different types and sizes of businesses to better utilise their offices. If you've been thinking about improving your office interiors for the future, feel free to get in touch with us. You can reach our office refurbishment experts by calling 0345 21 86955 or by sending an e-mail to hello@oaktreeoffice.com

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