The Future of Office Space Post-COVID Pandemic
What people require from their office spaces is transforming. The shift has been brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the acceleration of cloud computing and the way employers view the role of the office in workplace productivity.
Various surveys also indicate that the hybrid and remote workspace models will likely remain for the long term.
- Around 25% of workers in developed economies and 10% in developing economies may work from home three to five days a week in the future.
- 83% of the office workers in a recent survey said that the hybrid model of workspace is optimal.
- 66% of business decision-makers are planning to redesign workspaces in such a way to better accommodate hybrid work environments.
In this article, we’ll predict the future of corporate offices and explore the considerations businesses must account for when creating modern workspaces.
Future of the Office in Various Industries
Hybrid and remote work models impact industries in different ways. Let’s take an in-depth view of what the workspaces may look like for businesses/enterprises, educational institutions, commercial real estate companies, and co-working spaces in the future.
As employees seek flexible work options, enterprises must consider changing their office designs and workspace plans to accommodate the hybrid culture.
For those employees remaining in the office, a concern after the COVID-19 pandemic is health and wellbeing within the physical space. Enterprises must decide whether to create touchless workspaces by implementing technologies like Mobile Access Control that eliminate the need for physically touching doors.
But these technologies go far beyond just mobile access control. Additionally, API integrations make it simple for businesses to unify their once disparate software systems. The result is a more streamlined workflow and sensitive data being stored in fewer locations.
Commercial real estate
The commercial real estate industry underwent rapid transformation during the pandemic. With empty buildings, property managers adopted smart technology like after-hours HVAC and visitor management. Some of these technologies reduced operational costs, while others made it safer to return to the office.
Now as COVID-19 restrictions relax once again, property teams are turning to technology for another reason. Tenant amenities are adding value to the workplace, enticing employers and staff to return to the office. In order to secure and streamline these services, cloud-based access control systems have risen in popularity. These systems help teams by allowing them to add and remove users remotely, without needing to go onsite.
A co-working space is an office space shared between individuals from different companies and specializations. Businesses may reduce operating expenses by using co-working spaces because the infrastructure, utilities, custodial services and receptionist services are shared between members leasing the space.
Co-working spaces have become more relevant for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and large-scale startup companies in the post-pandemic world. Although some large-scale tech companies like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are expanding their office spaces, some companies still offer co-working stipends or work-from-home allowances to employees. These allowances enable people to work from a nearby co-working space to avoid distractions that may occur at home.
Co-working spaces may need to consider changing the office layouts and floor plans to accommodate more cubicles and a limited number of conference rooms to give flexibility, privacy, and autonomy to business professionals.
To increase convenience and safety, access control systems, visitor management, and video conferencing tools within meeting rooms become increasingly important.
Specific roles require levels of access that not all employees need access to, so implementing role-based credentials would significantly help teams. Furthermore, to manage visitors, customizable guest badges could be implemented with pre-programmed activation and deactivation times to help automate the check in process.
Although education has previously been deemed as the least digitized, 89% of public college and university presidents report that their institutions offer courses online, and schools are now adopting either a fully online or hybrid model of learning. A research study from the World Bank reported that the hybrid model of learning is here to stay in the future.
The World Bank also guided educational institutions to focus on aligning three complementary components: effective teaching, suitable technology, and engaged learners, to ensure the hybrid learning delivers to its potential.
The alignment of these three components is only possible with smart campuses that leverage digital technologies including but not limited to: student collaboration platforms, access control systems, state-of-the-art hybrid classrooms, smart sensors, and campus mapping technologies.
What to Consider For a Modern Workspace
Since remote and hybrid work models will most likely continue, businesses must develop flexible policies that redesign workspaces, increase convenience and safety for employees and accelerate workplace automation.
Businesses, including start-ups, may need to consider the following aspects while modernizing their office spaces into workspaces that meet the needs of all stakeholders.
Employees’ comfort and attitude on in-person meetings
Employees’ comfort is more important for organizations than anything else. Considering the growing concerns of safety after the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations may need to assess the attitudes of employees on in-person meetings.
Here are a few aspects on which every modern office should focus to meet the expectations of employees:
- Providing flexible work options.
- Offering work-life balance and stability.
- Enhancing workplace safety.
- Offering purposeful and meaningful work by automating repetitive tasks.
Organizations may also implement advanced digital technologies to meet the needs of hybrid and remote workers:
- Access Control: It allows workers to gain access to office buildings and other physical assets through digital keys or mobile access control mechanisms with various API integrations.
- Integrated Access Control and Identity Management: This allows employees access to various business applications with a single set of credentials, powered by Single Sign-on.
- Business Process Automation: It automates repetitive tasks and allows employees to focus on meaningful work at the workplace.
- Video Conferencing: These tools eliminate the need for face-to-face interactions during business meetings.
Your clients and customers
Clients and customers may visit the office to discuss products, close deals, and settle disputes. Besides clients, several other people like suppliers and job seekers may also enter the office.
How do you manage your visitors? How do you track what they do in your office?
Lack of tools to track visitors may lead to safety and security issues that could cost a large volume to organizations. Visitor management software may be the perfect solution for modern organizations that aim to keep their employees, assets, and data safe.
Organizations may need to implement a Touchless Visitor Management System that allows visitors to pre-register and gain access to the office premises through a QR code or a bar code. This software collects the details about the health of the visitor, the purpose of the visit, and the person to meet before generating a QR access code.
Modern workplaces should focus on environmental conditions such as ventilation, airflow, hazardous materials, and security to improve the satisfaction levels of employees. Good environmental conditions improve the productivity of employees and reduce the operational costs of the organization.
Modern workplaces can implement the following technologies and amenities to improve environmental conditions:
- Smart Sensors: Smart sensors on doors and windows improve the safety of the workplace by restricting the unauthorized entry of people to the server room and electrical panel room.
- HVAC Control: This technology ensures the working environment has optimal temperature by automating heating and air conditioning.
- Surveillance Technologies: Such technologies, including surveillance cameras, facial recognition tools, and location intelligence tools, enhance the safety of employees at the workplace.
- Digital Signage: These tools ensure people don’t get in contact with hazardous materials and quickly find desired information in the office.
Prepare for the Future of Work with Genea
Digital technologies help organizations create hybrid workplaces that meet the expectations of employees and other stakeholders after the COVID-19 pandemic. Owners of businesses/enterprises, educational institutions, commercial real-estate, and co-working spaces need to gear up for redesigning offices and amending company culture to improve operational efficiency and employee productivity.
Genea’s innovative technologies help organizations streamline workflows to improve safety and convenience for employees. Genea offers solutions such as cloud-based access control, building access control, mobile access control, a touchless visitor management system, and a cloud-based HVAC control system that could enhance your operational efficiencies and workplace safety.
Learn how Genea’s innovative technologies can help build modern workplaces that meet the safety standards and expectations of employees.