The changes that managers are expected to face when employees return to the office

After more than a year of working from home, some companies are deciding to return to the office. This is yet another change that could bring along new challenges and difficulties, primarily to managers, because they will need to meet various requirements to answer the needs of both the company and its employees in terms of new working conditions.

The successful return to the office will depend on the managers’ capabilities to secure proper safety measures and create a balance between the needs of the company and the employees.

The changes managers expect to face

According to the research conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute, more than half of the managers are planning on having employees return to the office during 2021, with the process lasting from 6 to 12 months. This will be done gradually, with a certain number of employees having the option of working remotely, as well as the flexibility in combining available options for organizing their work.

The aforementioned research points to another interesting statistic concerning team productivity. Half of the managers have stated that productivity hasn’t been significantly impaired during the pandemic, while 30% of them have pointed out the positive impacts of remote work on productivity and teamwork. For this reason, many expect that this trend will continue even after returning to the office – better mood and working atmosphere, friendlier relationships, and enhanced cooperation among team members.

Changes in the workplace that managers will have to implement

Choosing a new location is one of the first potential activities that will be implemented. This primarily refers to those companies that do not have their own space and, after more than a year of remote work, are in search of a new one. Depending on the number of employees that will be returning to the office, choosing a smaller space is a more viable solution that potentially reduces the costs.

Furthermore, when choosing a location, the employees’ preferences should also be taken into consideration. When estimating the location, the employees may take into consideration the additional benefits that come with it. Big importance could be given to the possibility for leisure activities around the new location, the existence of biking trails and promenades. Also, having more options inside the new space, such as bike parking, chill-out zones, showers, etc, can be perceived as a plus.

It is expected that safety measures will remain in focus for a while, which will also be of high priority to employees. For this reason, a recommendation is to opt for an open space plan, without parting walls or excess doors, in which several segments of the space are connected into one. This has been a dominant interior design trend for the past few years and will, therefore, not seem like a big innovation. It will, however, make it a lot easier to keep the space clean.

An important part of people adjusting to the new space is ensuring that there is enough distance between employees, while, at the same time, facilitating communication and cooperation. Although it may seem counterintuitive, this can be achieved with proper furniture such as large common desks, and with the seating schedule gathering smaller groups of employees. Online meetings, instead of in-person meetings, should be organized whenever possible. Ensuring enough space and readjusting the interior design will enable the implementation of all required safety measures.

Apart from the open space, employees will appreciate an abundance of natural lighting and air circulation. Therefore, spaces with large glass walls and functional windows will have an advantage, as well as spaces with modern ventilation and cooling systems.

With new technologies and new jobs that require only a laptop as equipment, it is no longer a necessity for companies to have large working desks. A good solution for such situations, especially when it comes to a small group of employees in need of a workplace, is a “hot desk” within a coworking space. With this option, everyday cleaning and maintaining hygiene on a high level is much easier.

Small meeting rooms will slowly take over the video conferencing services. Rooms with enough seating spots that enable coworkers/ business partners to join in through video calls will be very helpful. In addition, a fast and stable internet connection is a prerequisite for maintaining good communication during the meeting, and throughout the entire workday.

How to ensure the safe return to the office

According to the previously mentioned research, managers believe that around 25% of the employees will continue working from home. According to some estimations, that number may be even higher. However, it is important to provide proper working conditions for those planning to return to the office.

A recommendation is to include the employees in the entire process, to take their preferences into consideration, to include them in choosing, organizing, and moving into a new space. If you decide to rent a space (or desks) within an existing coworking environment, you can also count on the direct help of the manager.

The all-inclusive solution

Ahead of many managers is a period full of challenges and requests to provide conditions that will ensure a successful return of employees to the office. The all-encompassing solution already exists at four dynamic and inspiring Desk&More workspace locations. With 3 zones dedicated to work and coordination, there are also several possibilities for space organization, flexible lease conditions, and various additional advantages that we offer with the goal of helping our members run their businesses safely and successfully.

Make use of the advantages we offer and become a Desk&More member.

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