This year has seen widespread office redesigns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, whether you own or rent premises, or work from our serviced offices in Manchester and London.
We have worked closely with our tenants to provide COVID-secure serviced offices in London and Manchester, which comply with the regulations and guidelines on aspects of social distancing, cleanliness and hygiene.
But how can you engage employees in office redesigns, in order to ensure that your workforce are as happy as possible with the new office layout once it is complete?
Engagement from the outset
An article in the journal Strategic Direction earlier this year looked at office redesign projects undertaken by accounting firms in the UK, Ireland and Canada, and identified four distinct stages in the process:
These cover the design process from initial concept through to making the design a reality or ‘reifying’ it.
According to the paper’s author, acceptance by employees is greatest when they are included in the design process from the outset.
“The results revealed that the consultation element of such projects is a key vehicle for engaging employees to such an extent that they accept the new space and inherent working practices,” the article states.
“Supported by design professionals, office redesign projects are therefore a usefully influential, scalable mindset-shifting tool for achieving organisational change.”
Redesign for a COVID-secure office
The ever-changing nature of the pandemic makes it difficult to undertake a permanent office redesign in order to create a COVID-secure workplace, but there are some measures that are likely to remain helpful throughout the foreseeable future.
Some examples might include:
- Allowing small teams to form a ‘bubble’ if it is not feasible for them to work in a socially distanced way.
- Maintaining a minimum distance of one metre – and ideally two metres – between individuals and different bubbles.
- Limiting the duration of face-to-face contact to less than 15 minutes (and ideally as brief as possible).
By consulting with employees before making changes, you can take their views into account, not only on the way you redesign your office space, but also on the changes you make to their working practices.
For example, you might find some employees would prefer to work from home if it is feasible to do so, whereas others might not have a suitable space to work at home, or may just prefer to come into the office.
Even if you cannot accommodate everyone’s wishes, you can potentially find a compromise that shows you have listened, and ensure the support of your staff.
Making changes together
We have always allowed tenants of our serviced offices in Manchester and London to make changes to the design and decoration – we want you to feel at home in your workspace, for maximum comfort and productivity.
If you would like to redesign your office space in light of the current situation, or you are looking for serviced offices in London and Manchester that would allow you to create a COVID-secure branch office, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.