At this moment, are you in your kitchen? Your dining room? One of the lucky ones, with the fancy home office? Still, maybe you're missing the ergonomics of your office desk chair. Or the chatter of voices in the office, keeping things exciting.
We recognize that we've got things relatively easy in this difficult time. We have an opportunity, then, to make the best of this stillness, the brain-space we've gained from not having to wrestle with commutes every day, to ask: What will the workplace be when we return? What is the workplace, really?
When was the last time any of us experienced a pandemic? The Spanish Flu, in the early 1900s, has come up here and there in the reporting on our current situation, but that crisis came about in a time prior to the workforce shift from manual to analytical labor. It was a pre-office-space pandemic. We can look toward science and technology for answers, but this gets tricky, too, in a world where the flow of information is gratuitous, light speed, and ever evolving.
So, what do we know? Two things, for certain:
Creating the right workplace solution will necessitate a more tailored approach than ever before. The right recipe of open, closed, shared, and individual office areas — not to mention the balance of remote work and office work — will be different for all workplaces. The architecture of business operations may need to be tailored just as much as the physical architecture of the interior environment.
We know that things will continue to change. Environments that support agility in the workplace are the ones most likely to succeed in times of transition.
As our world continuously changes, so too will the workplace. And as we turn our thoughts toward bringing our own studio back together in the office, our clients are asking the same questions we’re asking for ourselves: How can we best support the health and safety of our employees? What feels safe now, and how will that change in the coming weeks and months? What impacts will the changes we’re making now have on our well-being and culture in the future?
We believed before this pandemic that the best chance of meeting people’s varied and evolving needs is to provide an agile, flexible workplace that offers employees choice and control over their environment. We still believe it.
Design Builds People.
And if there was ever a time to pause and make sure we’re getting it right, it’s now.