The business world has seen a major shift. COVID-19 has changed the way we work and shaken up business. The office’s role has been redefined. Many organizations have discovered remote work is possible. The evolution of the workspace has also been accelerated by safety and health guidelines.
What is the future? Three predictions are made about the future workspace in 2021.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, health, safety and hygiene will continue to be top priorities for businesses until 2025. Most leaders expect to increase the number of safety and health employees within the next few years. Business leaders expect another pandemic to occur in the future, so it will be important to continue to integrate testing protocols, detection tools and disinfection.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health provided detailed information to the American Journal of Industrial Medicine in 2019 about future work problems and the most likely approaches to address them. Safety and health were a major concern before the pandemic. However, in the future it will be an important factor for businesses as they seek to recover from the crisis and prepare for the future. Companies are now looking at integrating sensor technology to improve safety and contactless office entry.
4SITE is an example of the technology that we will likely see in the future workplaces. They make it possible for organizations to track employees and facilitate contact tracing. These sensors provide valuable data that can be used to assess the office’s physical footprint and help to determine the type of space needed for the future.
SHRM predicts that businesses will look at how they are affecting the environment in the post COVID world. Harvard University has found a link between COVID-related deaths and small increases in air pollutant exposure. Experts believe climate change is making the situation worse. This, along with the disastrous effects of climate-related disasters such as the West Coast fires and the increasing intensity of hurricanes, is driving a greater focus on sustainability and green design.
Already, architects are seeing greener offices. The demand for green offices will continue to grow over the next decade. In order to attract businesses to their offices, sustainability will be as important as lifestyle and facilities. The workspace will be integrated heavily with nature and sustainable features.
Reduced environmental impact of a business goes beyond buildings. Remote work is becoming more popular as employers embrace it. This means that offices use less energy and commuters are far less frequent.
Open office design was a big trend in the 1980s. Open office design was seen as a way to break down social barriers that divide people. It made it easier for managers to communicate with employees and teams to collaborate. Many organizations still used open floor plans. This was despite the fact that most of them crammed as many as possible into their space.
These cavernous spaces were left empty after COVID. Organizations are reevaluating their workplaces as they plan when and how to bring employees back into the office. What employees want from their in-office interactions. What teams will do with the office space if others stay home.
Future workspaces will provide what workers want most: pods and private, insulated spaces that allow for focused work. Open areas will remain for collaboration and teamwork. Many offices will have a more social club-like atmosphere, with a greater emphasis on employee comfort. This will transform these areas into places where employees can choose to spend their time.
This will be seen in many ways. Employees’ work lives will be better served by spaces. These spaces will offer additional amenities that can help to enhance and balance the workday. These spaces offer workers an alternative to working at home. The future workspaces will be more social and comfortable, with open spaces and furniture that encourage networking.
One thing is to keep an eye on the trends and predict what may be in the future for your workplace. It is another to be ready for changes.
This post was written by Tara Kintz. Tara is a director at https://www.signatureworkspace.com. Signature Workspace, owned and operated by Cantor Fund Management, offers services and amenities such as private offices, flex space, co-working space, virtual offices, meeting/conference rooms, and more.