The Improv Theater Stage of Life and Work in the Time of Covid - do we need work-life balance or blending?
When this pandemic is over, the world will probably look very different from what it once was, due to the many changes that will become necessary to thrive and the need for social interaction that will arise.
There will even be changes in your office environment at your place of business, whether you are the business owner or an employee.
Here are some essentials every office will need after the pandemic is over.
In many offices around the world, there are cubicles or separate rooms for each employee to work in so that they can have quiet and solitude to complete their tasks.
This design is great for social distancing, but unfortunately doesn’t lend itself to collaboration, socialization, and efficiency in the completion of tasks as everyone is separated and always in their own space.
After the Coronavirus pandemic is over, you will likely want to take every chance that you have to be with others and to be social. Most likely, leaders will need to rebuild cohesion in some of their teams as new silo’s may have formed while the company was teleworking. Collaboration and brainstorming is also quicker and easier when people get to work together in a room.
Consider hot desking office design where there is open space for collaboration with modular tables, lounge areas, and a centralised canteen. Contemporary offices also include meeting pods or phone booths to offer a sound-proof space for focused work or meetings when necessary.
Despite the fact that everyone will be craving socialization after the impact of the pandemic, there are still precautions that need to be in place — avoiding close contact and the transmission of viruses and bacteria over surfaces 🦠
For this reason, there may be a need for enhanced technology in the office including voice and sensor command technologies for computers, lighting, audio, and more. There may even be command options for bathrooms through a hand signal and elevators that require something as simple as thermal scanning in order to pass through.
Other ‘soft technologies’ will also be needed, like a virtual office notice board, running one-on-one performance reviews online, or giving highfives virtually to show employee recognition in the office.
After the pandemic is over, there will most likely still be an increased amount of cleaning compared to pre-COVID days. You may want to consider hiring office staff who are specifically trained to periodically deep-clean the office to prevent transmission of diseases and illnesses.
In aid of this, wooden countertops, coffee tables and desks may need to be replaced with their plastic, steel or laminate counterparts so that they are easier to sanitise.
Carpets may be made of materials that are solution-dyed, and chairs will probably start to be made of plastic or another type of material that is easy to clean for your business’ safety.
One essential that any post-pandemic office will need is an ample amount of employees to complete the necessary tasks as business starts to pick up again. You should realize, however, that many employees now prefer remote work and may only seek out a job that is remote due to the way the Coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone.
This is not to say that there will be no employees who would want to work in the office for social and other purposes though! Many workers still prefer and enjoy a quick commute to the office, devoid of home distractions, with easy access to work materials and co-workers.
You should be prepared to accommodate both remote and office-based employees so that they can complete their tasks as required.
When your office is fully open and functional again after the pandemic, you should ensure that you have put personal safety measures in place. If your customers visit your physical premises, for instance, provide sneeze guards so that your employees will feel safer.
Install sinks and sanitising stations throughout your office so that frequent hand-washing can be a priority to avoid the possible spread of the Coronavirus or any other illnesses.
Finally, make sure that every employee has access to masks if they are required by law or if they feel more comfortable using one at the office.
With all that said, we should also acknowledge that there has been some good that has come of the current pandemic, as many are realizing just how important it is to firstly avoid the spread of diseases, and secondly, to be able to freely socialize with others and collaborate while at the office. This is why these two things will be a priority in the office after the Coronavirus pandemic is over.
There will be other priorities for you to take as well, so take care to provide your co-workers with a safe and happy space to work in the coming years.
Sierra Powell graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a major in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing. When she’s not writing, she loves to cook, sew, and go hiking with her dogs.