At this moment, businesses are facing both a challenge and an opportunity: how do we reimagine our workspaces for the “new normal”? It is our chance to rethink the purpose of place, designing spaces that reflect company culture, enhance community and productivity, and become a destination.

Working from home has reshaped workers’ expectations and priorities for the workspaces they will be returning to. At the same time, businesses can take advantage of lessons learned over the last year to create spaces that are safer, healthier, more productive and more flexible.

• Design: Organizations should think about why employees would want or need to come to a physical space and what they will expect from that space while they are there. Inspiring spaces that provide flexibility, choice and control will be the most productive and resilient over time. Moving forward, office design should include “me” and “we” spaces to support both independent focused work and collaboration. Shifting from fixed to fluid architecture and furnishings maximizes versatility.

• People: As people come back, focus on their cognitive, physical and emotional needs, from basic safety to higher aspects of wellbeing such as belonging and self-actualization. Establish trust and reduce safety concerns with effective communication and clear health and safety protocols (such as enhanced decontamination and air purification). Managers may have to work to rebuild employees’ sense of purpose and connection and remind them of the value of being together in shared space. To support the continuation of hybrid work, establish clear protocols and guidelines, set up regular check-ins, and make sure at home workers have the right tools, technology and training to maximize productivity.

• Technology: The workplaces of tomorrow will braid the digital and physical for a seamlessly blended environment that works for both in-person and remote team members. Optimize both “me” and “we” spaces for videoconferencing with technology, privacy, lighting and acoustics. Consider utilizing digital signage to communicate evolving safety protocols, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) applications, and occupancy sensors to help make data-driven decisions and identify underutilized spaces.

As workers return to the office, we can bring them back to a space that is not
only safer but also better than the one they left. NBS offers integrated interior
solutions to help companies reimagine their workspaces for the future. We are
working to create resilient, flexible spaces that enhance creativity, community
and productivity. Because space still matters—now more than ever. Visit yourNBS.com to download our free guide on Returning to Better Space.