As many of us rapidly approach our year anniversary of working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jellyfish Training has been reminiscing about office life.
With this in mind, they have teamed up with Jellyfish, a digital transformation agency, and asked Mark Deprose, VP of Real Estate & Facilities, to provide actionable tips and insights. He discusses how employees can improve their at-home setups and gives tips for how employers can adapt their office environments to aid in returning to office life.
In addition, they asked children what they think offices will be like in the future after COVID-19. They were tasked with drawing their own ideal office and brought the designs to life in the drawings below. From breakout beaches to hover robots, the designs show how children think adults deserve some futuristic fun when offices return to normal.
Managing Your Space
As we move into a more hybrid way of working, with staff working more of their year from home, as well as the uncertainty of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to get control of your real estate. There are now 100’s of tools on the market that enable businesses to manage and measure their space effectively and enable staff to book desks and meeting rooms – all through one platform. With these tools, we can start to understand our staff’s behavior, where they sit, who, and how frequently, which will help inform our future space decisions. Accurate data is also critical in helping us know when to increase or decrease the amount of office space we need, especially when closely linked with a recruitment strategy.
Adapting to a New Way of Working
The way our staff will use the office in the future will change, though we still need the data to back this theory up. Staff will be able to choose to work from home when they need to concentrate, but come to the office to see their colleagues, collaborate on projects, and have fun. Before lockdown, there was already a shift in office design and pushing for different ways of working, with a real emphasis on providing less open-plan desks and more quiet work areas and fun communal space. The data will now be a key decision-maker in designing space going forward and creating environments that will draw staff out of their homes.
Retaining the Culture
Company culture and the people in your business should never be underestimated and make a company unique. Video conferencing is a means to an end — and we’ve proved we can all work effectively from home — but isn’t a substitute for an actual face-to-face meeting. COVID has forced the hand of business owners, making them review their working from home policy, but it shouldn’t mean we turn our back on the office; in fact, the office will now play a more critical role than ever, giving staff a safe environment to go and collaborate with their colleagues and develop their working relationships – something that just cannot be replicated online.
Comfort Should be Your Number One Priority
Ensure you invest in a good chair. There are lots of cheap chairs out there, but you can’t guarantee their comfort. Purchasing a proper branded office task chair will ensure you have a product designed specifically for long periods of use, unlike a dining room chair or stool. Also, ensure you have everything at the correct height – simple modifications can make a big difference to your comfort and reduces the risk of back and neck strain. If you don’t have the budget for expensive furniture, then there are many effective products out there that can help improve your existing furniture.
Create a Nice Environment to Work
Try and position yourself near a natural light source or window, which will help provide a better outlook and a potential fresh air source in the summer. If you don’t have access to natural light, then make sure you have adequate light in the room. Try introducing daylight bulbs and additional lamps if the space is too dark. Keep well organized, and make sure you have plenty of storage around you so you can keep your environment clutter-free. Also, introduce plants to your space as they will help improve air quality and look great. One thing people also forget is what others can see when on video calls. Make sure you keep the room tidy, especially the area that’s in view on video calls. Even put some pictures up if you have blank walls.
Have the Best Possible Technical Setup
Your internet connection is key to success as pretty much all business is now reliant on the internet and done through a browser. If possible, try and make a hard wired ethernet connection from your PC/laptop to your Wifi router, instead of relying on a wireless connection, which others could share. This will hopefully provide a more reliable connection, saving any embarrassment from poor connection on calls. Also, invest in some good quality Bluetooth headphones with a microphone, so you can switch between calls, video conferencing, and listening to music. Earbuds are great as they are more discrete, just don’t forget to charge them!