As the government asks employees to return to work, the pandemic has forced businesses to adapt to new ways of working.  They have had to reimagine how they work, and the role of the office to create a safe, productive, and enjoyable work environment.

Companies big and small have had to consider structure, new technology, functions and office size and location. That’s quite a lot for any company to quickly implement! We outline some steps for businesses to consider when reimagining how the office may look in the future.

Reconsider how work is done.

During lockdown, the main way that many businesses adapted was by embracing remote working. Businesses learnt that most simple everyday tasks could be implemented remotely and collaboration could continue. Flexing working patterns could also help employees be more productive, especially when balancing work and home life. The rush to get into the office and be at your desk by 9 am has disappeared for now at least, so consider flexible start and finish times and look at productivity rather than hours spent.

Get your IT system right.

Businesses were already heavily reliant on technology before the pandemic, but for a business to operate well it is now essential to have a good infrastructure. With companies looking to become more and more flexible, moving your on-premise IT systems to the Cloud will no doubt help your business in the future. Cloud-based IT systems are the best way to ensure employees can log on from anywhere. If there is still a need to have a physical office for meetings, a Cloud system will allow employees to work with the applications they need wherever they are. Plus, if security is of concern, the Cloud is a very safe platform in which to store sensitive information or data and it allows you to control which employees access it.

Redesign the office space.

We all have ideas of what a typical office looks like: a mixture of meeting rooms, kitchen areas, desks and cubicles.  But your office space may need to be entirely rethought. If your business thrives on employees interacting and collaborating you may want to consider how they’ll achieve that in your current office set up. Introducing socially-distanced collaboration rooms or cubicles is one suggestion.  Technology, as always, will be central to enabling employees to return to the office safely.  Video conferencing with clients as a team rather than as individuals, the use of virtual whiteboards, and remotely booking the office space to keep a record of who’s in the office, will quickly shift from futuristic ideas to standard working practices.

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