What will the office look like in the Post-Covid world?

Videoconferencing and work-from-home arrangements have suddenly superseded the office as the primary mode of labour. Offices have been with us since the 19th century, and in the 21st century, we were gearing towards open plans that encouraged collaboration and social interaction. Covid reversed the trend – this year, offices have pivoted towards social distancing instead, with most people working from home in some capacity.

Some people believe that sooner or later, we will revert back to normal, and nothing will have changed. A more pessimistic view is that the effects of the coronavirus is bound to stay with us, at least for the next few years. Already, global real estate company Cushman & Wakefield has introduced the 6 Feet Office, a socially distant concept for the post-Covid-era office.

Covid-19 thus possibly marks a turning point in the development of the office. This is the perfect time for companies to reinvent the office and consider new ways of working together. The pandemic gives us an opportunity to reflect on the directions that office life has taken and to break out of path dependency.

The most important question to ask yourself when reimagining how your office could function is to ask yourself:

What kind of collaboration does your company depend on?

The layout and nature of your office culture should reflect and aid the kinds of collaboration you wish to see. This was true even before the pandemic. For instance, Harvard Business Review reports that increased interactions actually undermined performance when a company relies on intrateam cohesion moreso than cross-team interactions. In companies where uninterrupted focus is more valuable that constant collaboration, an open layout can have adverse effects.

Thus, when planning for what the future of your office will look like, remember to foreground your values and culture while planning. Think deeply about what kinds of collaboration you wish to encourage even as you adapt to Covid regulations.

Next, keep your options open and actively reimagine what the future of your office space could look like. McKinsey predicts that there will be a range of space solutions after the pandemic: owned space, standard leases, flexible leases, flex spaces, co-working spaces, and remote work. Their research suggests that overall, time worked in main offices will decline by 12 percent, and work from home will increase from 20% to 27% of work time.

Given all these options, it is worth brainstorming what suits your culture and organizational needs best as a team. A company with teams in various countries might opt to pivot towards more remote work opportunities, for example. Pivoting towards remote work also has the added benefit of allowing companies to widen their talent pool beyond the cities in which they operate. If your company has managed the transition to remote work well during Covid-19, it’s worth considering making the shift permanent for the foreseeable future.

As such, think of creative ways to incorporate work-from-home into your company operations. The coronavirus pandemic has proven that work-from-home is not only a viable solution for the future of work, but one that many employees greatly prefer, freeing up travel time and allowing people to curate their working experiences at home. A recent McKinsey survey notes that 80% of people questioned report that they have enjoyed the work-from-home experiment.

One way of making work-from-home more sustainable is to create a unique Zoom background image that is aligned with your brand’s visual identity. Your Zoom background will become a vital brand touchpoint that heightens your team spirit and boost your clients’ and partners’ confidence in you. It will also improve your employer branding, a key element to hiring fresh talent in today’s aesthetics-informed economy.

As part of our content creation services, the IDEA Collaborative platform has cultivated a network of premiere freelance design resources from leading design capitals around the world, such as New York, London, Spain, Poland, Stockholm, and Mumbai. With this network, we are proud to offer custom-made design jobs at affordable prices without sacrificing customer service quality.

This has truly changed the game. Many tech companies have considered making work-from-home permanent, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Slack. Japanese technology firm Fujitsu has rolled out a permanent work-from-home plan and plans to cut its office space by half by 2023. Google has extended work-from-home until summer of 2021.

Great leaders can see opportunities even in a time of crisis. Now is the best time for companies to really evaluate their long-term collaboration strategy and decide how they want to chart a course forwards. By working together with your team and brainstorming creative solutions, you will be able to reimagine what offices will look like in the years to come.

Helena Ma brings with her a wealth of experience and a truly cosmopolitan perspective, having lived and worked in Shanghai, China; Gothenburg, Sweden; and London, UK. Her stints in Europe and China has armed Helena with a potent blend of ancient Chinese wisdom and contemporary Western knowledge which she incorporates into business management and client project