Before the pandemic, most organizations had centralized office locations for staff members to work. Since the pandemic, employers have had to develop workplace experience strategies to cope with the new normal. These changes are geared towards welcoming employees back to the office and accommodating different working models.
Employers have started introducing new office technology and designs that will improve productivity, general well-being, and safety of employees. For companies to flourish, they must be ready to adapt to every aspect of the recent workplace design. Read on as we go through the different workplace designs that you can expect in 2022 and beyond.
Flexible Office Spaces
Workspaces have evolved since many employees prefer working flexibly between the physical office and home. As a result, workplace experience strategies in 2022 will be more flexible. When you have a flexible workspace, employees can easily feel like it’s a second home, which improves the working atmosphere and promotes collaboration. For instance, an open layout will maximize space utilization and incorporate comfortable and creative designs such as coherent color schemes, bright natural lighting, and open seats and desks.
Non-uniform furniture can project a sense of informality that is conducive to innovation. In fact, creating a variety of workspaces to accommodate the unique workstyles and needs of team members, increases productivity. Moveable quiet areas, like office pods and booths for private calls, provide areas for quiet work. Often coming with power ports, small desks and power outlets, these quiet zones allow individuals to focus and maintain deeper levels of concentration.
An open layout also means that workers can easily reach out to colleagues and access equipment they need in other departments, unlike working in tiny cubicles. Also, innovative workspaces should have different areas that offer various options tailored to suit different psychological needs and work styles. Implementing flexible workspaces can significantly increase workers’ productivity and efficiency.
Focus on Well-being
Organizations should also incorporate various wellness-focused amenities in the workplace, such as meditation and gym spaces. From the onset of the pandemic, working from home has been the norm, so introducing wellness facilities is an excellent idea to support employees to the fullest. This way, you create a healthy and comfortable working environment that improves employees’ productivity levels and keeps them happy. You can also include extra spaces for staff to relax and exercise in their free time and offer upskilling courses and mental health-related workshops.
Elements of Nature
The pandemic forced employees to spend most of their time working indoors. This means they have lost a lot of connection with the outside world. Therefore, it’s essential to help employees reconnect with nature or the natural environment by adopting biophilic designs.
Technologies like Igor Intelligent lighting controls and Cree lighting systems used in tandem with natural light, can automate the best lighting temperatures for different areas throughout the workspace. The long term, positive effects of good lighting on the health and well-being of workers can not be overstated. The closer to nature, the more beneficial lighting is proving to be.
You can achieve this by adding some elements of nature or revamping the whole office space. A biophilic design stresses greenery such as living walls and plants, windows that bring in sunlight and natural views, a physical connection like a rooftop patio and small outdoor garden, and tones and textures such as concrete furniture and wood. When you have a naturally inspired office design, it can encourage concentration and creativity, lower stress levels, and increase air quality.
Inclusive workspaces are a priority of every company as part of the return to work preparations. In the past, employers have not backed the idea of neurodiversity, but the tide has started changing quickly. Neurodiversity means the different approaches and brain functions people have when interpreting information. Some examples of neurodiverse conditions include Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, and ADHD. You should have an office design that offers varying options that allow employees to perform their duties depending on their psychological needs and well-being.
You can easily collect data to understand how and when employees use different spaces when you have smart offices. This way, you will have real-time insights into the best way to optimize office designs now and in the future. Systems like Gridd®, the Adaptive Cabling Distribution® system by FreeAxez, enable easy access to power, voice and data cabling thus simplifying the ever-evolving configuration needs of the workforce. After all, workplace design trends serve one main purpose—providing a structure that will enable workers to increase wellbeing, productivity and efficiency.
Technological integration is a vital part of implementing the new workplace experience strategies. Having the infrastructure in place allows easy installation of touchless doors and imaging systems. These make it easier for employees to move easily around the workplace. Moreover, intelligent workspaces utilize digital sensors to respond to things like natural light levels and air quality. You can also use other tech solutions like desk booking applications for a smooth staff flow.
Flexible Seating (aka Hot Desking)
Due to the gigantic rethink that many designers and facilities teams are engaged in, some employees are no longer assigned designated desks. These associates would typically be based remotely and only travel into the office for meetings with their colleagues. Staff occupies different seats and desks across the workspace on a first-come, first-served basis.
This flexibility has allowed businesses to reduce their real estate footprint and to cut down on expenses. The space that is freed up is repurposed for other uses like collaboration areas, common spaces and more. In case workers want some privacy, a limited number of huddle rooms (small collaboration rooms) and private offices are often available.
Universal Design for an Inclusive Workplace
Employers must continue pushing for inclusivity while designing their workplaces to offset the changes that come with remote work. Although there have been some tough days over the last two years because of the pandemic, there has also been some incredible community spirit. And although individualism still has a place, unlocking the power of togetherness and community brings more results. Also, keep in mind that today’s employees have diverse preferences. Employers will have to accommodate boomers, millennials, and Gen Z in the workplace. Therefore, make sure you have inclusive designs that accommodate everyone.
Workplace Experience Strategies Combat the Great Resignation
Since April 2021, approximately 15 million people have left their jobs in the US. The Great Resignation means that employers are under more pressure to align their workspace with the needs of their employees to keep them happy. This will have an impact on workspaces in three ways:
- Enable hybrid and flexible work to be the new normal
- There will be more emphasis on the amenities and design of physical workspaces to retain and attract employees
- Better employee benefits, amenities, and compensation.
Workplace experience strategies will continue evolving in 2022 and beyond. The main focus will be to provide the best environment for employees to reach the highest levels of performance. Having the infrastructure is key to enabling a seamless transition from one experience to the next. Flexibility is an essential part of how this new vision for how we work will become a reality.