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The New Office Space: Phone Booths, Nap Pods, and Pet Beds

These office space archetypes will give your workers a space designed around their needs - increasing productivity, collaboration, and community.

I think we can officially say we have entered the after-COVID stage in almost every area of life. From shopping to restaurants, people have returned to a new - or at least what we have all decided is the new normal in our public spaces. 

However, one area of our lives where this is still taking shape is in the office. While many people have been "back to work" (in the office), many others have remained remote or hybrid. In fact, numerous companies sent their employees home permanently, finding that the cost of an office wasn't justified when studies have shown that productivity was up 13%.

Today, we are finding that 81% of executives are open to a flexible work week, and 61% of workers work from home as a choice. With that, the idea of "the office" is clearly in flux. Gone are the days when workers would accept a prison block of cubicles as their workspace. However, in a similar trend, the days of open office experiments are also past. We've tried to scrape maximum productivity out through the blinders of cubicles and attempted to leverage a wall-less community with the free-flowing open office. Both models have now been exposed for their weaknesses. In the after-COVID office environment, the needs of the dynamic workforce are taking center stage. The result is a flexible office environment, connected and centered around the employee - acting as a resource hub for the modern hybrid worker.

Increasingly the office is viewed as a place to go for the benefits it provides the workers - community, collaboration, technology, etc. With that, an "office" will always be needed. It just may not be required for every worker eight hours a day, five days a week. As workers, this is excellent news - on average, employees are recapturing forty minutes a day just by eliminating commuting from their lives. We're finding more productivity, free time, and contentment in our work lives, and our companies benefit from the change. 

This is a win-win for everyone. 

Now, stepping into this post-COVID office space as a leader looking to remodel your office space could present quite a few challenges. Keeping some of the lessons learned in mind, we can successfully design office spaces that meet various needs while empowering and supporting our teams to reach their goals. As you make plans to bring workers back (or not) and relaunch your office - there are a collection of office space archetypes that will help create an environment that meets the various needs of your modern workforce: 

  1. Multipurpose Room: The Swiss Army, do it all, room for collaboration, meetings, presentations, and group work.
  2. Plaza: The center of your culture and the magnet for community and connection - eat lunch, hang out, rest, or work as needed.
  3. Team Room: The hybrid co-working space for small teams - desks, sofas, tables, and whiteboard walls for the win. Add-ons may include pet beds for those pandemic fur babies that are used to having their parents home 24/7.   
  4. Pitch Room: The modern board room with space for a crowd but technology for remote connection and presentations.
  5. Reception: The book cover of your office will set the first impression of your guests AND your team. 
  6. Booth: Spontaneous tables for small groups of workers to gather with power for laptops, room for coffee, and space for collaboration.
  7. Main Street: The modern hallway is a space for water cooler chat, quick conversations, and drop-in workspaces. 
  8. Desk: Yes, they still exist, and some people will still want one, while others are good with sharing non-assigned workstations.
  9. Remote Pod: The modern phone booth with sound insulation and the technology needed for remote connection. (Also perfect for a quick quiet mid-day reset) 
  10. Library: The open office with a catch - this space is a dedicated quiet, focused work in contrast to many of the previous collaborative office environments. 

Using these office space archetypes as a guide to building your next office space will provide your workers with an office designed around their needs. Supporting your team while increasing productivity, collaboration, and community.