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The New Community Place

Employees are beginning to return to the workplace 15 months after the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic started. The offices will not be the same as before Covid, that’s obvious.
Pre-COVID, the office was thought to be critical to productivity. The pandemic forced us to challenge that thinking. Employees discovered that they could work from home successfully and that being productive does not mean always being present. According to Global Workplace Analytics research, 82% of U.S. employees want to work from home at least some of the time when the pandemic is over.
During the pandemic, adapted to doing most of their daily tasks from home. But employees also say there are certain things that cannot be replicated from the home office, such as learning from others, informal social interaction, and hosting clients or customers. This article from “Bloomberg.com” is exactly what they are feeling.

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The limitations of working from home are transforming workplace design. A recent article in Harvard Business Review described the traditional office space as becoming “…primarily a culture space, providing workers with a social anchor, facilitating connections, enabling learning, and fostering unscripted, innovative collaboration.”
Offices of the future (the very near future) provide space to encourage impromptu meetings and unplanned collaboration that has been missing from our work-from-home lives. Below are two examples of how companies are creating a community workspace.

Meeting spaces, where the phone booth meets the restaurant booth, are suited for small team meetings. Some meeting booths are soundproofed and fully enclosed and offer a private meeting area. Some booths, or pods, are open but still feature a defined meeting space as well as sound-dampening panels.

Some employees may need a quiet space to concentrate or join a Zoom meeting without disturbing others. Pods, that resemble phone booths, provide everything from lighting and power outlets to a place to site. Some feature an open format while others are soundproofed

Don’t get these community workspaces confused with trendy office spaces of Silicon Valley that feature beanbag chairs and foosball tables. These new designs are functional workspaces that address real employee needs, facilitate interaction and collaboration, and boost productivity.
In the post-COVID era, providing employees with an enriched workplace experience has multiple benefits from increased engagement, productivity, and talent retention for the employer to a sense of belonging and fulfillment for employees.

Need more resources? We have a few ideas.

  1. Global Workplace Analytics
  2. We Work
  3. McKinsey.com

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