Everyone has been adapting to the new normal as the pandemic continues to affect our daily lives. Every aspect of our routine lives has changed, and that includes how we work. Millions of workers suddenly shifted to working from home months ago, but as the end of the pandemic crests over the horizon in the distance, we can start to look at how work will look in the future. Working from home has been working for millions of people, but some things are best done in-person. We are seeing the first peek of what post-pandemic life might look like, and that includes office spaces. As 2021 draws nearer, we can start to plan what our offices might be like if the pandemic does come to an end next year. If you want to get a jump on potentially returning to in-person offices, here are a few ways you can get your office space ready for 2021 or whenever the pandemic makes it safe to gather in offices again.
Use Existing Furniture In New Spaces
Many businesses kept their office spaces and existing furniture for a variety of reasons. Rental agreements for office spaces didn’t stop because of the pandemic and work from home orders, so many businesses still have spaces to return to in 2021. If your business or office team still has a space to return to, consider rearranging the old layout to make it fresh and compliant with COVID-19 safety recommendations from local health officials. Try to keep as much space between employees’ work stations or desks as possible. If some employees collaborate or work together more than others, put their desks on the same side of the office but still spaced apart.
The desks and equipment you left in the office during 2020 are still acceptable to use in 2021, but rearranging them can make the space feel new for a new year while keeping employees as safe as possible. If you are working in a small office, consider which employees need to work in person and which ones don’t. If some people must work together in-person, then save the limited office space for them and let the other employees continue working from home if they wish.
Even if you space out employee’s desks more than they were before, it is still a good idea to grab some protective equipment to be safe. Plexiglass barriers can help divide the space even more without cutting off sightlines and making employees feel more boxed in. Extra cleaning supplies, sanitization products, and disposable masks are good things to have on hand even if you don’t use them every day. However, all the protective gear and office spacing in the world will not matter if you disregard capacity guidelines. Do not overstuff your office and think plexiglass barriers between employees less than two feet apart will keep everyone safe. There is no 100% cure to prevention method, so do not rush to stuff your office again even with a good stash of protective equipment.
Going back to your office in 2021 is the best time to upgrade the building. Employees appreciate a snack cupboard and drinks in the fridge, but chances are they would appreciate better hot water or air conditioning too. Many people never think about water heaters or HVAC units and consider them unchangeable, but you can upgrade these units. Spaw out your old units for an efficient propane water heater and an HVAC unit that does more than only super-chill the bathrooms. These upgrades might not be ultra visible, or the sexiest office changes, but they are the more significant changes that everyone will appreciate year-round. After being away from the office for a year or more, an upgraded office will be a welcome return to office life. Now is the time to do these major upgrades while the office is empty and installation crews don’t have to juggle employees. Get on your logical installer’s schedule now to upgrade your office before employees potentially return next year.
Hybrid Or Temporary Offices
Many companies have found that working from home has been successful, and they don’t necessarily need physical offices anymore. Companies that had their entire staff working in an office might find that only a handful of employees need or want to work in an office going forward. A business can save a substantial amount of money by renting a smaller office space or temporary offices if the majority of the staff wants to continue working remotely. Do not force staff back into the office if it is not necessary, and you may end up saving money on rent and utilities while making your employees happier.
Everyone is trying to plan for 2021 and what work-life might look like next year. Many companies still have office spaces that they may use next year, but desks should be spaced out before staff return to in-person work. Stock up on protective gear if you ask employees to return and upgrade the office to make the environment better for everyone. If you don’t need to work in an office, consider giving your employees the option to continue working from home to cut down on the size of the office you pay for.