The New Normal For Office Spaces
You constantly hear “When things get back to normal”, bet let’s be real… how much further to normal do you think we going to get? What is going to be the new normal for office spaces post quarantine? Since we are in the office furniture world, we have already been hearing certain requests from clients and others in the industry.
We have brought all that together and created this quick guide for those wondering what they should be expecting in their office space for when the quarantine lifts and the world goes next to normal.
- More remote working
Many companies have had to rethink how to get work done without having their employees work in the office. Maybe they were scared of remote working or maybe they have never considered it in the past, but most companies have been forced to embrace it and now that some have seen the benefits they may not bring all their staff back into the office! Some companies that might have been considering an expansion of their office space might not be considering it anymore and instead be creating a remote working staff and an in-office staff.
- More barriers
So, an office may already have cubicles, but we are seeing that some are wanting to provide even more protection. The solution? More panel walls – taller panels walls! Typically, cubicles or benching stations are in packs and grouped - in larger spaces you may find multiple packs (pictured below). People have already started searching for barriers to go between the packs to provide a sanitation barrier.
- Fewer Benching styles
A hot trend that has been rocking the office space for a while now has been benching style workstations, which many people have shown concerned over now. Each employee would typically have roughly 4’ to 5’ workspace; however, as people are coming back from quarantine it has been hammered into their memory SIX FEET APART! So, considering that, people are scrambling to find a solution. There are two solutions that we will explain later.
- Fewer “walk-ins welcome” signs
This is something that is not going to affect many but is something that we are seeing and even implementing ourselves. Places that once offered appointments with the option of walk-ins as well have restructured to abide to COVID-19 standards and requiring scheduled appointments to keep better account for the number of people in the building. This made a difference for us as it makes sure that each client gets 100% attention and the best service while they are in the business, as well as helping in planning team meetings and out of office meetings for salespeople. So, we wouldn’t be surprised if we see this trend continue post quarantine.
All these things can be viewed in two lights. In most ways these are positive changes that will ensure the health and safety of the employees, but it may cause stress points for the employers. We have some solutions for you as you search for some options to help your space be healthier without breaking the bank.
- Consider Rental
Not sure where your company is going to be in 1, 3, or 5 years? A great solution for this uncertainty is renting your office furniture. We along with several local office furniture suppliers offer rental options that provide a leeway for companies who find themselves rapidly growing, or simply uncertain of their future. If you want to redo your current space, but don’t think it is something that you want to keep forever, consider renting.
- Double check “Inventory” stock
Some companies were in the middle of a large purchase order for their office space and they were told that due to their manufacturing spaces closing, their order was on hold. Some were on hold for a couple months, some indefinitely. What this means is that moving forward, keep an eye out for IN STOCK options. Some places, like at Carolina Office Solutions, offer pre-owned products that are always in stock AND new order in stock. You don’t have to limit yourselves when looking at products. IF you want new, just ask the supplier what the lead time is and how much the vendor has in stock of the products. In some cases, they may keep a certain amount in stock and you only have to wait on shipping.
- Solutions not replacements
Rather than getting rid of everything in your office and replacing it all, consider talking with a professional whose job is to find solutions. If you have desks for your employees but want to change to cubicles to provide a health barrier, consider desk top options (picture #1). If you have short cubicles and are consider purchasing taller ones, consider adding glass or check to see if the walls can be extended taller (picture #2). If you have benching stations you may not need to reduce staff in order to fit cubicles. Similar with the desking options, there are tabletop separation products you can purchase to attach in between the employees to add a barrier (picture 3). And lastly, if you are questioning anything in your office, contact an office furniture provider and ASK! Try to avoid going online and buying a bunch of new office furniture products when you can get one-on-one assistance specific to your space.
Our project managers have decades of experience and even though COVID-19 is a new beast, they are highly trained in products and are used to finding solutions for any space. If you want to start looking for options, send some pictures of your space, or write out a detailed explanation, or simply pick up the phone and let us know what your goals are: send it over to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (704.506.9523) and we will let you know what options you have for solutions.