With the schools going back today, people are beginning to contemplate a return to the office. Leaders need to ask the right questions and begin to think how they want to use their space.
We want team members to have an experience and engage with the place in a new way. Do you have to associate the place with sitting at a desk. Will it be a social hub, with facilities that you need to host drinks, buffets and any form of get together. This new area could be a conference facility, spaces bigger for social distancing and large rooms without desks.
Social areas in offices are nothing new, however the change will be leaders will actively encourage time spent in them. Table football, pool and darts chances for individuals from different departments who may not have seen each other for a whole year to meet up.
The fixed desk might be old fashioned and the need to reconnect might mean switching every month.
Flexible working has worked and must be a pattern that everyone has the choice to continue with. The core hours of 9.00am to 5.30pm will be altered with people arriving at lunchtime and working in the evening, likewise the breakfast club could be the liveliest time of the day it will all depend on your culture.
The space can be used for well being events, encourage everyone to down tools and meditate, practise yoga or do a full on cardiac workout (air fresheners at the ready)!!! Lunch and learn can be so much more fun than a PowerPoint presentation, get departments to create board games of what they do, treasure hunts, book summaries the more imaginative the better.
We have been starved of opportunities to collaborate and connect spontaneously, so make this happen in the new world. Coffee and connect throughout the day, and with a new mix of people. Encourage this by providing creative tools such as white boards, post-its and most importantly good coffee.
Before everyone returns look at your space with “fresh eyes”, what would make the area more attractive and inviting. Watch the old classic “9 to 5” film with Dolly Parton where they reinvent the office space. If this is what you are aiming for ask employees to bring in house plants, photos and encourage a home from home atmosphere.
Theme your meeting rooms around your product or service, making spaces fun and connecting with your brand.
The place to start preparing is for Leaders to ask the key questions now…:-
- How do you want to use the space?
- How do you want to engage with it?
- What are the multiple purposes of this space?
- What rituals can you set up to make as many experiences as possible…?
- When do you want to visit?
What will be sad is if the opening of office is dictated by leadership without buy-in from team members. This is an exciting time to reconnect and for your business to operate like it never has before, don’t be led by numbers or safe guarding, create an experiential new space.
For more ideas or for nuggets to facilitate a new space ideas session please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.