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Crafting the Post-Pandemic Office Space:
How Company Culture Takes Center Stage

Posted by Anne on October 17, 2023

Crafting the Post-Pandemic Office Space: How Company Culture Takes Center Stage
By Elizabeth Holmes

It’s Time to Reevaluate Your Office Space

The pandemic disrupted traditional work models, pushing companies to reevaluate the purpose of their office spaces. No longer merely a place for employees to clock in and out, the office has become an amenity to companies – an opportunity to reflect and reinforce a company’s culture and values. As such, it is pivotal to understand how your company culture influences your office space decisions.

What is Your Company Culture?
First and foremost it is important to understand what your company culture and company values are so that you can clearly define what you are trying to accomplish with your office space. Note that for your culture to be a productive tool in determining future office space, it is essential to align with the real, existing company culture rather than an idealized version.

Questions you can ask to determine how your culture will impact your office space:

  • What is our stance on remote work and flexible work arrangements?
  • How do we measure and encourage employee productivity and performance?
  • What are our long-term goals and growth plans, and how will they impact our office space needs?
  • What does a typical day in the office look like for our employees, and how does it reflect in our physical work environment?

  • Tailoring Space to Specific Work
    Depending on your remote work policy, most employees have the opportunity to work from home at least one day per week. That means your office space must now compete with an employee’s home office. So how do you design an office space that is just as or more beneficial than working from home?

    For instance, a company that thrives on creativity and innovation may benefit from collaborative spaces and open floor plans, offering employees the chance to collaborate in person compared to working alone at home. In contrast, businesses that prioritize deep focus and independent work may require secluded workstations or private offices, which may not be available to employees at home who have young children, roommates, or insufficient technology (internet speed, computer capabilities, etc). By tailoring the office space to your employees’ specific needs, you increase their desire and interest in working in the office.

    The Role of Activity-Based Work Design
    Activity-based work design is a contemporary approach to office layout that places emphasis on accommodating various work activities and preferences within a single space. It aligns with the post-pandemic world, where flexibility is essential. Your company culture helps you decide which activity-based design elements are most important. For instance:

    • Collaboration zones: If your culture values teamwork, you might allocate more space to open meeting areas or collaborative workstations.
    • Quiet areas: For a culture that values focus and individual productivity, you may prioritize quiet zones or private workstations. Recreation spaces: Some cultures may benefit from including recreation areas or relaxation spaces to promote well-being and creativity.

    Supporting Remote Work Integration
    The post-pandemic office space should also support the integration of remote work. This also means having the appropriate technology to seamlessly integrate employees working in the office and working remote. A culture that values flexibility and work-life balance may encourage more remote work options, which, in turn, affects how much office space is needed for in-person collaboration and team-building. It also affects what technology you offer within your office to allow teams to collaborate efficiently no matter where they are located.

    Agility and Scalability
    As businesses continue to adapt to evolving market conditions, company culture plays a key role in how your office space can be adjusted to meet changing needs. A culture that values agility and adaptability may prefer flexible office designs or lease terms that can easily scale up or down as necessary, reducing the risk of overcommitting to a fixed office space.

    Employee Well-being and Productivity
    Prioritizing employee well-being and productivity has become integral to post-pandemic office design. Your company culture can guide decisions on amenities, natural lighting, ergonomic furniture, and air quality improvements to ensure your employees are healthy and productive while in the office. However, this also entails considering employees’ commute times. Selecting a site that minimizes employees’ commutes where possible is another way to increase productivity and well-being.

    Company culture is central to determining the amount of space needed and the specific work environments that will support your team’s productivity. By embracing an activity-based work design that aligns with your culture, you can create an office space that is both adaptable and conducive to the well-being and productivity of your workforce. In this way, the post-pandemic office becomes a vibrant, culture-driven hub that fosters growth and success for your business.

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