As 2021 rolls around, the world looks a lot different than it did at this time last year. With a global pandemic to defend against, day-to-day working life has changed for many in the UK and looks as though it will never go back to normal.
But, with the new year comes a promise of hope, and many look forward to returning to the office properly, whether alongside working from home or full time. For business owners, this looks to be the prime time to initiate an office makeover, updating your space to meet with the new way of the world.
If you are looking for some ways you can bring your office up to speed for 2021, read on.
Prioritise communal workspaces
COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns have meant that working from home has become the norm, and for many businesses, it will be a part of working life moving forward. Because of this, the functions of the office have changed and, instead of the place where someone goes to work every day, it’s where they go to collaborate with colleagues face-to-face.
This change in function means that making a larger office change can be incredibly beneficial to your workplace. Now, instead of having designated desks for each member of staff which will be unfilled for large portions of time, it’s better to focus on creating communal workspaces where staff can collaborate with one another.
This could mean creating flexible seating, which allows people to move around and not have designated seats. It could mean removing desks altogether and instead, having more informal seating areas where staff can talk with one another. When it comes to reconfiguring your office space, 2021 is time to throw out the rule book and consider what will really work best for your business and how your staff are working.
On this, office design company Penketh Group explain: “we predict a rise in shared work settings and collaboration zones with more soft seating, idea-sharing resource and a more modular configuration so that they can be adapted to requirement and a more fluid approach to teamwork.”
Upgrade your accessibility
One thing that continues to be incredibly important is making sure our spaces are as accessible as possible. As 2021 rolls around, as well as looking at how we can make our workspaces fit the new style of living, we should also look at improvements we can make when it comes to inclusion.
A workplace should be somewhere where staff feel comfortable and feel as though they can perform to their maximum potential, but oftentimes where accessibility is lacking it can actually hold staff back. Whether you choose to look at installing a goods lift to take the pressure off staff moving merchandise, or a wheelchair-friendly lift for customers to use, an upgrade can go a long way.
Design areas with video calling in mind
As working from home has become much more common, so have video calls. The chances are, with staff working remotely and potential clients and customers also working remotely your workforce could be making more video calls than ever before.
Using your office makeover to create areas with videos calling in mind can be a great move. For this, you’ll need to ensure you create sound-proof areas to block out the general office sounds with all of the video calling technology needed.
You can even create custom, branded backdrops to give your client calls a more professional edge. Whether you choose to simply use a brand colour on the background wall, display awards on shelves or show the company logo, creating a permanent, professional backdrop can be a nice touch.
READ MORE: The benefits of a luxury home office
Support local businesses where you can
Smaller businesses have certainly taken a hit in 2020, and, we think, where you can try to support the local community you should. It can be important and show not only your staff but your potential customers that you care.
There are many ways to work with the local community, from sourcing materials locally to hiring a local artist to paint a unique office mural. Not only does trying to work with smaller, local businesses mean that you can support your community, but it also gives more character to the office space you design.
Make flexible working easy
As well as working from home, flexible working has also been prevalent in 2020 and now more and more staff are seeing the benefit of it. If your business has converted to flexible working hours, make sure your office makes this easy for all staff.
During your makeover, why not look at the security you have in place and how you can upgrade it to mean staff can use the office outside of the hours of 9-5 Monday to Friday if they wish?
You could also look at bringing some home comforts into the building, like food storage facilities, cooking facilities and even shower/changing facilities. This way, staff will be able to be more flexible with their office time, knowing that if they want to take a lunchtime run or come in before breakfast, they’ll have everything they need to do that comfortably.
On the topic of making an office space more homely, eDecor Trends explains: “One of the flagship trends in office furnishings in 2021 will be resolutely that of reproducing a cocooning, familiar universe, that of ‘like at home’, transposed to the workplace. The HR challenge is enormous: the office environment must now contribute (almost) as much as wages, to employee loyalty.”
Suggestions for an office makeover in 2021:
- Prioritise communal workspaces
- Upgrade your accessibility
- Design areas with video calling in mind
- Support local businesses where you can
- Make flexible working easy
2020 has meant that many businesses have experienced changes and, as such, there is no better time for an office makeover. With these tips, you’ll be able to prepare your workspace for the new normal and start 2021 on the front foot.
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