Back To The Office

by Margie

With many staff now working remotely how will organisations “bring staff back” to a safe and productive workplace?

The dominant characteristic of pre-COVID workplaces were spaces to encourage proximity and relied on physical closeness to achieve the collaboration that drives creativity, innovation, speed and agility. High density workstations, café-like environments and shared meeting facilities now pose challenges for the post-COVID workplace as organisations strive to limit physical interactions.

The drivers won’t change – in fact they are now even more critical as competition increases in the likely economic contraction following this pandemic. A focus on culture and community in the workplace is equally significant if organisations are to hit the ground running. Staff wellbeing is fundamental and there is the obvious need to be safe, but also feel safe. For many organisations, such as those working in health, aged care or education, returning to workplaces as they were will not be an option.

What will be different in the “new normal”? The answer will be unique to each business and particular to individual staff members. This period of enforced remote working provides solid evidence for shaping how people might work together safely in future. Investing time in unpacking and documenting the distinctive lessons learned is time well-spent. Images clockwise from top left: Gerringong Medical Centre; Mind the Gap workstation screens; EJ Informal workspace; 58 Auburn Street.

To create a plan for how to adapt over the short, medium and long term, a design process is required. Navigating a safe and efficient path to a post-COVID work environment requires forethought and involves responding to a variety of inputs in order to facilitate change. A collaborative approach with a diversity of input has a direct correlation to the functionality, success and enjoyment of the outcome.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in designing physical changes to a built environment. Edmiston Jones have an established design methodology that creates clear, responsive, evidence-based solutions. The approach is underpinned by a flexible and collaborative co-design process. Using both face-to-face and digital tools for engaging staff, we gather and apply insights to create meaningful change for organisations large and small.

Get in touch for a video consultation to learn how a bespoke strategy will pay dividends in productivity and engagement in the forthcoming, highly competitive corporate environment.

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