Covid-19 flipped the world as we know it upside down, and the workplace changed tremendously because of it. Forced to find a way to work remotely, companies that didn’t traditionally participate in a hybrid or work-from-home system found that it was possible to flourish. From a worker’s perspective, many discovered they were productive at home and thrived. As we have started to return to the office, many companies have found that their workforce does not want to return to the office full-time. Instead, they have found that many employees seek a hybrid work model, where they can come to the office and work from home. Employees seek to work in the most comfortable environment conducive to their productivity.
All of this has made one thing clear: efficient use of space is essential to create an effective and productive workplace.
As the workplace evolves, employers find that effectively using space can significantly impact employee health, morale, and productivity. Executives and senior managers are seeking the best way to optimize their workspace to fit these updated workflow dynamics and create a workplace that’s not only conducive to productivity but creates an environment that draws employees back to the office while utilizing space as efficiently as possible. Here are a few ways to efficiently use space to improve the workplace.
Improves Employee Health
The pandemic placed a considerable emphasis on safety in the workplace. Traditionally safety in the office setting was more of an afterthought. Still, the pandemic brought it to the forefront, emphasizing indoor air quality, sanitation of work areas and shared spaces, and ample workspace for each office worker. These needs have elevated the need to efficiently redesign and plan out space to allow for a more open and spacious workplace. This can help to reduce stress levels, improve air quality, and reduce noise levels, all of which can help to improve the overall health and well-being of employees while reducing the risk of spreading sickness.
Improves Employee Morale
The modern workforce can work from anywhere and be productive; this became abundantly clear during the pandemic. The notion that offices are needed to incubate productivity no longer applies. With this in mind, offices must now be a bastion for productivity, teamwork, and comfort, eclipsing the notion that the office is somewhere people “have to” come to but instead aiming to make the office a place that employees “want to” come to. A modern workplace design with efficient use of space utilizes open areas that incorporate natural light and technology, providing common spaces for gathering that encourage collaboration while also creating individual workspaces that are ergonomic, connected, and designed for comfort. These modern workspaces help to create a more positive atmosphere while encouraging cooperation, creativity, and productivity, all of which boost employee morale and create an office where employees want to come too frequently to be productive.
Improves Building Efficiency
Utilizing space efficiently starts with knowing and tracking critical information about your facility, including total office space, occupancy rate, and layout. Technology can gather information in real-time, including occupancy of desks, room utilization, and booking of conference rooms and temporary workspaces for hybrid employees via hoteling software. This data can be incorporated within an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) to easily track, organize, and facilitate efficient use of building space. When this data is utilized correctly, facilities managers can adjust HVAC and lighting systems only to heat or cool when a space is occupied, thus increasing energy efficiency for the building and reducing carbon emissions.
Decreases Carbon Footprint
Knowing the total office square footage and the occupancy rate allows businesses to plan their space as effectively as possible, enabling maximum office use in today’s hybrid work environment. When this information is not tracked, it leads to unused space spread across a company’s built environment and decreases efficiency. Effective use of occupancy data allows leaders to maximize their current space, enabling them to plan for future use. When space use is maximized and used as efficiently as possible, businesses can ensure they don’t waste space, energy, and resources, thus reducing their carbon footprint, increasing overall efficiency, and saving money that can be used to invest in other areas of the business.
Overall, efficient use of space helps organizations build a healthy, efficient workplace that embraces the necessary features needed for a hybrid workplace that employees want to utilize. From improving employee health and morale to reducing energy use and cost redundancies, efficient use of space can help to create a more productive and successful workplace. The pandemic has pushed businesses to embrace this changed workplace and enable managers to enact policies, planning, and procedures that implement the future of the workplace today.
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