OfficeSpace Software
How Safety and Office Structure Will Look in New Normal

An Evolving Workplace

March 12, 2021
Both safety and personal preferences will determine how and where we work.

I have to admit that I’m one of those people upon hearing a colleague coughing uncontrollably walks over to their cube and points out, in a very friendly manner, that our company has a  generous policy of providing sick days.

Some colleagues appreciated the reminder and others just keep coughing.

Of course, that was before the pandemic. And now as I think about going back to the office, after a year of working at home, my safety concerns have exponentially increased. Will my colleagues be as vigilant with their health as I have been this past year?

I’m not the only one wrestling with this. A Harris Poll survey, commissioned by OfficeSpace Software and conducted from Dec. 1-3, 2020, among 1,206 employed U.S. adults, found that safety is the top concern of those wanting to go back to the office.  

In addition to common COVID-19 protocols (masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing), the top three things that would help people feel safe returning to the workplace full time are:

  • Limited/reduced capacity in the office (40%),
  • Employees having to pass online health screenings before coming into the workplace (36%),
  • Eliminating in-person meetings (32%).

Although at one point we might not need to have to pass online health screenings, the trend of having fewer people in the office, as well as fewer in-person meetings, will continue as more people choose to work at home. Employers are now having to rethink how and why people will choose to go to a physical office.

One of the main reasons people will return to the office is that generally, we need social interaction. The Harris survey backs up this sentiment reporting that  80% of Americans working from home due to the pandemic miss in-person collaboration with colleagues. Being with others who are striving for the same goals is invigorating. The Harris survey also found that 72% of employed Americans feel more engaged when in the office, and 70% feel more productive.

“Innovation is at its best when people gather informally and share ideas,” says OfficeSpace Software CEO David Cocchiara. “Using technology, we can enable that innovation in a manner that is safe and makes people feel comfortable.” His company employs software to manage the inner workings of an office. For example, automated room booking can ensure that protocols for social distancing are used by providing accurate occupancy rates. Desk time for shared workspaces can be scheduled and in general space management can all be utilized through software programs. 

Configuring a physical workspace is about more than automation, however.  How will people want to work going forward?  “While this has been a trend as companies try to make their workspaces more attractive, it becomes even more important in the new normal,” says Cocchiara. “Businesses continue to compete for talent, and providing desirable work arrangments will become an important consideration when people decide whether or not to work for your company." 

Thie new normal also challenges the collaboration model. While people will still collaborate in the office, could we actually schedule collaboration time? How about choosing a time for everyone to come to the office for that purpose, for a few hours, not the whole day? 

I have to admit that concept appeals to me. I would love to be in the office with my colleagues at specific times to brain-storm but work at home, on my own schedule to produce the work from those sessions. It combines both of those worlds and creates a different mindset that wasn’t as available before when people are confined to physical office space during certain time frames.

And changing mindsets seem to be a common reaction to dealing with our new working environment. As I changed how and when I worked I also changed how I thought about doing my job. Instead of a commute, I take that time, sit at my desk, and try to think of new ideas and processes. I have implemented some and feel proud of these and I know that I’m delivering more value to my company as well. 

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