by Ethan Paquet
During the last few years, as many people worked from home and were given more flexibility, the conception of a traditional office space has changed. Employers are seeing the need to accommodate employees’ needs when working from the office, from home, and in other places.
“The COVID-19 pandemic forced people to change the way they went to and completed their work,” says Tim Coyle, Territory Sales Manager of Haworth for Atlantic Canada.
Haworth Inc. is an office furniture manufacturer based out of the United States, with facilities in 120 countries. By combining interior design and technology solutions, they work to create organic workspaces that help people perform at their best.
On PEI, Haworth products are sold through Office Interiors, which has locations in Charlottetown and Summerside.
“As a global company, we stay informed on what is happening in the marketplace so that we can adjust to what the needs might be in the future. Now, people have returned to the office and some are still working from home. But we are seeing a third place emerge as well.”
Work from Anywhere allows people to work from where they are most comfortable, whether in the office, at home, or in another space. Tim encourages businesses to consider incorporating this model to improve productivity and plan for the future.
“This model will prepare companies for that kind of shift if the pandemic should happen again.”
To do this, Tim lists five key areas businesses should consider improving:
- Immersive technology“
The Internet has made connectedness more seamless than ever before. There is technology to track staff coming and going, to book meeting rooms and workspaces, and to connect with others who are not in the workplace.”
- More collaboration
There’s an office building in Toronto where nobody has an assigned workspace. Workers are not locked into a particular space where they are surrounded by the same people all the time.
“Work from Anywhere spaces, also called ‘Free Address’ spaces, inside the building allow staff to move freely, engage with and collaborate with more people, so it is a collaborative layout.”
- Focus to restore
“People need spaces to protect themselves from burnout. Historically, going to the office was not necessarily an enjoyable experience. Now, we are looking at making it a more enjoyable, relaxed space, and to give people an area to go when they need to restore and take a break.”
- Space shift
“Before the pandemic, most workspaces had a lot of room for task work but very few spaces for collaboration. The new idea is that the office should be used more for collaboration and teamwork, and home and third places are where taskwork is done.”
- Be more people oriented
“The office should be a place where people want to be. It should feel safe, comfortable, and welcoming, and it should have a vibe that attracts people.“
To give it a more human approach, introduce sunlight, greenery, and softer furnishings within the commercial space.”
While businesses may be initially wary of making these changes, Tim says it is important to offer staff the type of workplace they need to succeed.
“Some people are very productive working from home, and some are not so productive. By incorporating the Work from Anywhere ecosystem, you are supporting your workforce by offering them the balance they need.”
“This is what the future workplace will look like. We advise our clients to communicate these changes to their employees and listen to their feedback.”