Post-lockdown in the office

I’ve recently had a few conversations about going back to work and what that will look like.

For some that worked in offices they were able to continue at home whilst for others things grounded to a halt and have remained so for the past couple of months.

From the way things look, it appears that even though things are starting to open up again, we will not be going to back to the normal that we once knew.

With social distancing set to become our new way of living, the office environment can no longer remain the same.

Lunch – The eating space can no longer be a social space used to catch up and get away from your desk. Tables and chairs would need to be re-organised to ensure social distancing remains. It’ll probably be more convenient to just eat at your desk.

Meetings – In the past few months all meetings have been held over video or changed to a phone call, I think this will remain. Travelling for client meetings will no longer be a priority, unless perhaps done so by car. Team meetings work well whilst we’re all at home but this will not translate well into a socially distanced office. We’ll need to think about how we can have group discussions in a private place whilst still maintaining distance.

Hot-desking – Something that was implemented as the new way of working and that marked a rise in the flexibility of the 9-5 is now at risk of being eradicated. We’ll still have the flexibility in work hours but the space we work in will stay the same, the less stuff shared the better.

As you can see, it’ll be a challenge to maintain any sort of normal office environment with social-distancing. An office, like many other work spaces is built on people coming together.

What does this change mean for the future of working and how can we adapt to ensure we’re working in spaces that meet our needs both individually and collectively?

Will we still have meetings post-pandemic?

A while from now we’ll be living in a post pandemic world. Companies and businesses will have to make decisions about the way they will choose to work moving forward.

Presentations, discussions, conversations and updates are all being done remotely when normally they’d have required meetings.

Those meetings may have involved: a journey to another city by car or train, a large group when only a small few were needed or time wasted because it could have easily been a 10 minute conversation over the phone.

But when the world goes back to the office, back to the normal 9 to 5 lifestyle, I have no doubt that there will still be unnecessary meetings.

And so a question worth pondering on is, ‘Why do we meet when we know we don’t need to?’