Pre-pandemic workplace thinking emphasized the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ office as critical to productivity, culture and recruiting efforts. A year of pandemic induced need quickly integrated videoconferencing technology and other forms of digital collaboration into our work lives creating unique and non-traditional work environments.
As businesses across the nation begin to contemplate the great ‘return to work’ much of what we consider to be traditional - in a workplace context - is being questioned. As your organization looks ahead, consider the following as you reimagine what the future might hold for your workplace:
Rethink How Work is Performed
Given the fast pace of complying with ever-changing COVID-19 regulations and health and safety protocols, many businesses simply transplanted existing work processes into a virtual environment; attempting to mimic existing processes. While this may have worked in some business contexts, it may have failed for others.
Looking ahead, consider identifying the major components of your business with the assumption that remote work will continue in one form or another. Assess each component asking yourself (and others) which parts of this process require a physical presence from start to finish? Are there some parts of the process that can be performed remotely and others that require in-person interaction? Can the best parts of in-person and remote work co-exist with these major components of your business?
Redesign Where Work is Performed
Traditional office space – the mixture of private offices, cubicles, meeting rooms and shared dining/relaxation areas – rarely reflects specific business priorities. Working from an assumption that at least some work will continue to be performed remotely, businesses could reimagine existing workspaces to reflect this new reality.
If collaboration is the primary use of existing workspace, why not have the space reflect that purpose? If workspace need only be provided for those who cannot or choose not to work remotely, would it be better to provide smaller working spaces closer to where those employees live? A workplace that incorporates videoconferencing, in-person, and remote workspaces, where work is allowed to be performed simultaneously in various locations, provides the best of what the traditional and modern workplace has to offer.
To reimagine the workplace of the future means meshing the boundaries between traditional work concepts and digital opportunities with the goals of maintaining productivity, improving the workplace experience, collaboration, and culture. This is the perfect time for workforce leaders to reinvent the workplace and redefine what it means to provide a safe work environment that enhances the employee experience, improves productivity, and reduces costs.
How will you reimagine your workplace?
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