This is a guest post by Adam Smith, managing Director of Teamspirit.
Our lives have changed dramatically in the last few months as COVID-19 shook up our personal and working lives. For so many office workers, the home has become the office, the kitchen table the desk, the garden the new meeting room, and the five steps to the living room replacing the daily commute. While we all assumed this would be a temporary change to our lifestyles, as the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, we realised that our working lives may have pivoted for good.
While we all might be tired of hearing the phrase ‘the new normal’, it is the shift in our working patterns which is predicted to be one of the most significant changes. As the Government is now encouraging people to continue working from home where possible through the upcoming winter months, we won’t be returning to normality just yet. Now that we have acclimatised to successfully working from home, the office space has transformed, taking on a new meaning and purpose in an increasingly digital world.
What will the office look like for comms and creative professionals when it’s okay to return to the workplace? This is how we at Teamspirit expect the workplace to be reinvented…
1) Safety will come first, but efficiency is a close second
From the very start, the most important thing has been the safety of employees. This is why the workplace will look very different to what we are all used to, in order to minimise the risk of transmission and keep everyone feeling safe. Smart technology means that offices are able to better control the virus; from scanning QR codes to register when you enter the office, to temperature checks at the door. Keeping the workplace clean and clutter-free will take on a new importance. But the while the new processes may take some getting used to, it won’t compromise efficiency thanks to clever technology and clear rules.
2) Collaboration will be king
An overwhelming lesson from recent months is that, by and large, we can all get our work done efficiently and successfully from home, provided we have the right technology to support. But one of the biggest holes left from the mass exodus from the office is collaboration, which underpins everything we do. We’ve set up a group on Teams to replicate our group brainstorms, and we regularly share ideas over Zoom meetings, but it’s not quite the same as being shoulder to shoulder with peers.
Recent months have emphasised how important collaboration is in the comms and creative industry. When eventually returning to the office, we can expect to see more ‘break out’ spaces and meetings away from the desk to encourage working together more effectively when we’re in the same room. We’ll once again be able to bounce ideas off each other without dodgy WiFi and building work upsetting the flow.
3) The office will be a hub of creativity
For many of us, the kitchen table might not inspire the same creativity as being around colleagues in a busy office, despite the growing collection of house plants to keep you inspired. For the PR team, being in a newsroom means sharing headlines and jumping on opportunities the minute they’re hot off the press. When we are back in the office, this atmosphere should be cultivated with regular newspaper meetings, brainstorms and discussions to inspire work and keep us thinking imaginatively on the days that we are at home.
Concerned about an eventual move away from home working? Check out our previous post 11 ways to mentally prepare for an eventual return to the office.