Is your business ready to re-open and operate in the 'New Normal'?
The future of how we use office space is going to change considerably, as we begin to slowly and safety return to work.
All business with 5+ employees will more than likely be required to risk assess their work environments and document a new safe working practices to re-open. For the majority of businesses in coworking or shared office space, the supplier will need to complete most of this, however office owners will still need to cover off their own private office space survey.
Workstations could be required to use protective desk dividers, like the ones below, introduce hand sanitising stations, demonstrate rigourous cleaning rotas after desk usage and provide adequate desk spacing to safely work in the 'new normal'.
Businesses are likely to be fussier about the quality of their office offering post the pandemic and the flexibility of contracts will be scrutinised. What this means is only offices with excellent facilities, from IT networks, through to meeting rooms, excellent cleaning polices, clean air filtration systems and slick and well-managed reception and will be top of company wish lists.
We might also see companies choosing to invest in a range of smaller, flexible workspaces close to where employees live and take less, higher quality space in expensive, city-centre locations. This will arise from a desire by workers to cut out their commute and increased confidence from managers that working remotely is viable. Statistics show that to open safely, only 25% of the usual public transport capacity will be made available, if social distancing is maintained at 2m. Therefore home working isn't going to be a luxury but a necessity for many millions of people and businesses.
Home has its limits. Homes are private places, designed for family life rather than work. A well-designed office building will have a variety of facilities that support efficient working such as rooms designed for different types of meetings and presentations, breakout areas for informal meetings with colleagues, cafes for more casual chats and private offices. Says Emma Long of Bizspace Business Centres
There is a huge variety of ways that you can make your workforce more flexible, promote social distancing and protect the bottom line:
- Reduce your office space, especially in expensive prime city centre locations
- Support and promote a home working policy
- Invest in technology to allow virtual meetings, improved communication and more robust systems
- Look at finding satellite office locations with regional networks, preferably closer to your employee's home locations
- Strategies meetings, so only those that really need to are made to visit the office
- Move to 'cloud based solutions' to avoid space in the office being taken up by storage units - Makes your greener credentials look better if anything!
- Try buying coworking membership cards as a cheaper option to 'fixed office' desk for people to get a break from home working
- If in a lease, speak to the landlord and ask to downsize or leave it early - the short term cost might pay off in the medium term
- Talk to your clients, so they are aware of your new strategy for safe working and share ideas!
So if you're office density looks something similar to this image, you will need to start thinking about removing up to 50% of your current workstations to make your office safer!
Check out this blog which looks at the future of flexible working https://www.mbspropertysearch.co.uk/news/2019/the-future-of-flexible-working/