Touching on topics from real estate, design and furniture, to operations, vendor partners and wellness, the workplace strategy experts explored the questions around what the future of workplaces and workplace strategy will look like. Below are just a few ideas on what organizations can start thinking about to position themselves efficiently when transitioning back into the office.
1. The 6’ Ring of Reality and Occupancy Calculator
Secondary to health and safety, the main concern we have right now is space. As social distancing has become the new norm, organizations will be rethinking and reprogramming the physical set-up of offices and how employees can work safely and efficiently.
Taken from the 6’ social distancing rule is the 6’ ring of reality concept. The 6’ ring of reality is expressed in a visualization of a 6-foot radius around each employee and individual workspace. Creating a visual of the 6’ ring of reality by layering it into an actual workplace footprint is the first step in learning how workplaces can be physically adjusted to adhere to social distancing rules.
Should companies implement the 6’ ring of reality, it will likely impact occupancy, seating arrangements, design and furniture, and real estate. Desks that normally seat 5 may have to seat 2, conference rooms that house 5-6 people will be suitable for 3. However, there are systems that can help mitigate the loss of workspace while keeping health and safety in mind.
2. What The 6’ Ring of Reality Means for your Organization
While implementing the 6’ ring of reality concept into re-designing an office, there are a number of different options to help alleviate issues with loss of space. The first is a neighborhooding system, where, for example, 40 desks are allocated to 80 employees. Teams can decide together how to manage the available work areas or implement a rotating system. Hoteling is already used in workplaces around the world, allowing employees to reserve seats in advance. Ultimately, it is up to organizations and teams to decide which teams need priority of being in the office and when in-person collaboration is most important.
3. Work from Home Programs and Real Estate
In conjunction with neighborhooding and hoteling systems will be the option to work from home. Many workplaces have already implemented agile workplace seating, and now we have an opportunity to look for functional solutions on how to be more efficient with space. Most organizations have been forced into testing a full work from home policy during COVID-19, with leadership already looking closely at the functions and cross-functions of teams and which employees can effectively work from home.
If a sustaining or modified WFH policy becomes a permanent fixture, organizations will need to look at the percentage of WFH workers and what impact it will have on real estate. With the 6’ ring of reality, will we need to sustain current real estate or acquire more? If and when we are able to go back to work, will we then have a surplus of seating?
These questions will have to be a part of the ongoing conversation leadership and teams have as we move forward, continuing to assess the changes taking place and needs organizations will have.
The 6’ Ring of Reality
4. Utilizing Vendor Partnerships
Leveraging existing technologies and relationships with vendor partners will be an integral part of adjusting to the new workplace norms in an efficient way. Leaning in with your vendors, engaging in conversations and brainstorming to find applicable systems or solutions can help with breaking down the process of workplace re-entry into manageable steps.
Janitorial services may lead the task force of an organization’s sanitization process, while companies such as Insidesource can assist in transporting and storing unused furniture that may be needed in the future. Utilizing vendors as experts in their industries and valuable resources will be key in creating a sustainable and functional procedure for the changes that organizations will prioritize within their workplaces.
5. Going Back to Work – A Tiered Approach
Restructuring our entire approach to the workplace feels like a daunting task. Teamwerc recommends a tiered system to begin the process of preparing to transition back into the workplace. Assigning tiers to organizations of different sizes, i.e. Tier 1 = 50 or less employees, helps to then break down buckets of where to prioritize efforts in a digestible way.
Each organization will have different buckets with different priorities, including but not limited to janitorial, parking and transportation, shipping and receiving logistics, and food and amenities. This is where collaborating with your vendor partners will be especially helpful.
The tiered system allows for organizations to begin approaching each of these buckets systematically, tailored to the size of the workforce and overall company priorities. Implementing these changes one step at a time is a less overwhelming and more efficient way to start adjusting the work environment to help employees feel safe when coming back to work.
Teamwerc helps to build global workplace organizations, overseeing real estate, design and construction, and operations and compliance. The company has collaborated with companies such as Pinterest, Tesla, and Zynga, implementing workplace strategy plans that position organizations for hyper-growth from the ground up.
ABOUT IMPEC GROUP
Impec Group develops innovative solutions for built environments. It works to cover strategic planning, workplace strategy, project management, operations, and workplace technology solutions. Some of their strategic alliances include CoreNet, Sodexo, iOffice and Trimble Navigation.