It goes without saying that this past year has been hard on many companies and employees, regardless of the industry. When taking a look back to March 2020, the hot topic in most workplaces was the transition to remote work. The internet was buzzing with words like “quarantine,” “social distancing,” and the infamous “COVID-19.”
Now, a whole 15 months later, we are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and getting back to “normal.” The internet is now stirring with words such as “back to work” and “hybrid workplace.” As more and more employees are breaking out of their home offices and returning to the in-person workplace, there is an increasing need for workplace design and construction that encompasses safety, efficiency, and the tools necessary to collaborate with virtual teams.
Luckily, Galbraith is specifically positioned to update your office space or build new spaces with the latest workplace aspects to accommodate our new normal. Check out our past designs here.
How many employees are expected to return to work, in-person and hybrid?
While companies and employees are talking about getting back to work, we often wonder: How many are actually getting back to the in-person workplace and how many are switching to a hybrid format?
Lucky, Deloitte surveyed 275 clients in April of 2021 and asked these exact questions.
Here are some key findings from the survey:
- 64% plan to physically return to the workplace (either fully or hybrid) in 2021.
- As employees return, 91% of clients will require masks and 89% will require social distancing.
- For clients that have already started the process of returning to the physical workspace, 89% will return to the workspace in 2021.
- 67% will have enhanced health and safety protocols.
The Latest Trends in Workplace Construction
From the Deloitte survey, we know that many businesses are planning to get back to the physical workplace. This includes all employees fully returning and those that are remaining at or switching to a hybrid format. Both of these plans may come with safety protocols that need to be implemented or just a general change in how the workspace is structured.
With that, here are some workplace design/construction trends that are happening in 2021:
- Sanitization procedures. Many companies are enforcing safety in the workplace and that includes keeping hands clean to prevent the spread of germs. Because of this, many workplaces have an abundance of sanitizer dispensers located throughout the space.
- Hot desking. “Hot desking” is when a company does not assign specific workspaces to their employees. Instead, when employees arrive for work, they choose any desk that is available to them. This has been around for a while but is making a resurgence in 2021 so that desks and chairs can be deep cleaned every night.
- Biophilia. Biophilia is a type of design that many companies are considering now that they’re bringing employees back to the physical space. Biophilia works with design that is centered around outdoor spaces. For companies utilizing this kind of workplace, construction is beneficial since CDC guidelines have had a trend of allowing for more people to congregate outside than inside.
- Dividers, Boundaries, Shielding, etc. Implementing more dividers and boundaries within the workplace complies with the social distancing protocol that companies are looking to implement. There is an upward trend in allowing employees to have separate spaces from one another to ensure proper distancing.
- Flexible spaces. While some companies might opt for more separation of their employees and implement dividers, boundaries and shields, others might opt to bring their employees together, but in the safest way possible. This is where flexible spaces come in. Flexible spacing includes workspace optimization so that employees have plenty of room to move around and allow for co-working spaces to still exist.
Whether you’re looking to remodel your existing space or build an entirely new workplace, our team at GALBRAITH is happy to help answer any questions you may have about the process. Contact us, and schedule your free consultation today!
Allan Galbraith is co-owner of Galbraith/Pre-Design, Inc. and oversees company operations and strategic planning. He is an accomplished business leader with over 22 years of experience in commercial and industrial construction.