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Then and Now: 5 Ways the Office Has Changed Since Covid

Updated: Jun 24, 2021

There is no denying that we are in the midst of a paradigm shift within the way employees’ function within a business, and the impact on the corporate office may be the most substantial and positive change since computers were mass introduced to offices in the 1970s.

Homeworking may have initially been seen as a short-term solution to the first Covid-19 lockdown but as time has gone on it has morphed beyond a novelty and into an expectation of every employer. Employees, and employers, have been forcibly challenged to find new working practices, confront established status quos, and foster new technology in a way that none of us could have imagined less than 18 months ago.

There are, of course, many things that may not make it beyond “Covid times” (hopefully home haircuts will be banished into the annals of history), but there are a lot of trends within office spaces that we believe are here to stay.

Emphasis on hygiene and sterility

Experts have suggested that the return to offices will involve a combination of short-term fixes, focussed on immediately boosting employee confidence, along with long term societal changes to our approach to hygiene and sanitation. With a combination of improved cleaning practices alongside intelligent, hygiene focussed design choices, there will be a much higher emphasis on creating safe and sterile office environments that remain productive and space-efficient.

With employees now hyperaware and hypersensitive about the potential of disease transmission and sickness, design choices, material choices and personal space are now major office design factors alongside the more traditional design considerations. To discuss design considerations, hygienic material considerations and other options to create the ideal office space for your returning employees get in contact with one of our experts today.

Flexibility is the new productivity

With many employees, and employers, now exposed to the time and productivity benefits that have arisen from home working it is clear that flexibility is now a “new norm” and here to stay. With hundreds of articles written about flexible working and WFH, it is obvious that office design and strategy needs to balance this new appetite for employee flexibility with building productive and efficient office spaces.

Whether you are able to redistribute your office spaces into a “hub and satellite” model, or your current spaces need to be repurposed to match the new social, agile working methods, the office environments now need to match the employee expectations rather than the other way round if you are going to attract talent back into your office space. A great way to achieve this is to create increasingly comfortable and collaborative offices that employees utilise for social interaction and teamwork whilst retaining home working for more solitary and concentration-based tasks.

Design and ventilation really matter

As many companies plan a return to the office over the coming months, one issue gaining more exposure is air quality. There are several anxieties that staff have about coming back into the office, whether full or part-time, and air quality is a key concern when it comes to disease transmission and employee safety throughout the office. With the majority of current HVAC systems designed to circulate and replace all the air in a building every 20 to 30 minutes, the ability to introduce more regular fresh air into your office will be a higher consideration. To read more about how important clean air is in your post-covid office visit our full article here or discuss your options with one of our expert design team.

Multi-functional spaces become the norm

Office spaces are no longer single-purpose facilities but need to be different things to different people at different times of the day. This trend began prior to Covid upheaval with the advent of co-working spaces and hot-desking, but the trend towards multi-functionalism has seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the last 12 months and office space designs now require a level of agility and flexibility that was previously unheard of.

Rather than dour, sterile environments focussing solely on productivity, agile workspaces now require more functionality to justify their existence. This leads to designs with less desking and more focus on tech-enabled spaces for collaboration, teamwork, meetings, training, and events. To understand the design possibilities available, and how to create a multi-functional, future-proofed office space, contact one of our experts now and let us support you and give you peace of mind that your office design is perfect for your needs.

Technology as a norm

Technology has historically been the biggest driver of innovation and productivity, and now more than ever keeping ahead of the technological curve can give your business a competitive edge. As more disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the Internet of Things flood into the workplace, the office environment must change to accommodate new modes of operation if it is going to thrive in an ever-competitive market.

With communication and connection at the heart of every business, and recent Covid restrictions fast-tracking a mass adoption of communication technology, employees now expect the highest level of technology to allow them to be productive within their roles. The Zenconnect pod range provides small meeting areas that make the most of your office footprint whilst providing employees with the ability to seamlessly connect in groups of up to six with anyone anywhere in the world, with studio-level acoustics, high-quality audio-visual, cameras and lighting.

To really understand the potential game-changing benefits of immersive technology, our ZenConnect spaces are the perfect solution for businesses looking to stand out from the crowd. ZenConnect Spaces range from exhibitions studios to event and training hubs, enabling colleagues and clients to interact on a global level. Fully immersive video environments allow a presenter and their audience to come face-to-face in a virtual setting, whilst teaching spaces create remote and hybrid teaching for academic institutions all over the world.

Whether you require a real estate reduction, office relocation, office refurbishment or moving to a hub-and-spoke model, Zentura can help you define and deliver high-performance workspaces for the future. Get in contact today to see how our experts can help you achieve your office goals before it’s too late.



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