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Returning to the Office Post Covid19 : Office Space & Real Estate Considerations

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Returning to the office post-pandemic will be a sizeable endeavour, and companies should ensure they are planning for their return with both their staff and real estate partners in mind.  In this two-part series, we will outline how to return to the office safely while considering all interested parties.

Due to the pandemic, traditional workspaces have undergone a radical change, as flexible work arrangements have become not only necessary, but also popular.  According to a recent survey of employers, 78% plan to change to remote work strategies… and for 74%, this translates into proposals for moderate to extensive real estate adjustment.  As employers plan for a return to work, it is clearly necessary they review the impact of their real estate on their workplace and their employees.

Redesigning the Office

As non-essential workers continue to operate remotely, innovative companies are beginning to adopt a hybrid work model.  This can take various shapes, with one or more employees working in various physical locations depending on their job functions; employees may only be working in-office part-time, on a rotating schedule, or fully from home.  This shift is forcing businesses to re-evaluate their workplace and real estate needs, and could prompt a redesign of their office space.

There are many considerations that go into determining how an office space can best be used in a world of flexible working arrangements.  This could mean avoiding crowded open floor plans, reversing the 20-year trend of increasingly high office density.  It is likely that the time of the daily commute to the office is over, with more flexible options meaning shared desk spaces, and a demand for modular, changeable furniture arrangements in office.  These four real estate considerations will assist you in determining if it is time for an office redesign, or a larger more drastic change in space.

Portfolio Planning

The first step is to determine the ideal footprint for your office workspace, and whether your current real estate portfolio fits this vision.  Would a more dispersed workspace with many smaller office “nodes” better fit your and your employees’ current needs than a more conventional, central office location?

Accommodation Planning

Take the time to plan and work through various workplace scenarios.  How many people will be returning to the office, and who can remain remote?  How often will remote workers visit the office? What job functions necessitate a return to the office?  What will your needs be in 1 year, in 5, in 10?  And how will these considerations affect your plans for an updated workspace?

Transaction Planning

This time of transition will call for tough decisions, but is also rife with opportunity—be sure you are ready for anything that comes your way.  Now is the time to plan, whether this means sitting down with your landlord to brainstorm new and innovative ideas, or considering breaking a lease early.

Community Needs

Finally, be considerate of your community needs.  Consider allowing third parties to rent rooms if you have vacant space.  Perhaps there is a community cause you can support with your real estate resources.  This could be the time to start considering your property as a community asset!

By taking these issues into consideration, you will be able to best determine the needs of your office going forward.  However, real estate needs are not the only issues you must address when planning your workspace post-pandemic.  Your employees will have feedback on how they would like to work going forward, and now is a great time to take their opinions into consideration.  In next month’s segment, we will speak about how you can take employee needs into consideration for a full, holistic approach to returning to the office.

Harkel Office are your office furniture experts, and can assist you in your transition back into the office.  Whether you are looking to introduce a new, modular furniture layout, or working on a complete office redesign, Get It Right with the experts at Harkel Office. Contact us now at 905.417.5335 for a consultation.

Although we all need a break sometimes, sitting is ultimately bad for your health. Sitting too often or for too much time during the day can lead to health risks such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. This problem is mostly seen in office workers as their job requires them to sit down for most of their day with very few opportunities to get up, stretch, or move around.

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Lately, getting ready for work in the morning hasn’t been the same. The fact is, our world has changed and the new normal for workplaces has changed with it. From now on, individuals and companies will be thinking about space and safety in ways that we never had to before.

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The world has changed and so have modes of business. For most of us, commuting to “the office” has changed from a 1+ hour commute to simply getting out of bed and walking over to your spare room (or even your living room).

Wherever you are working in your home, you’ll find that the optimal and ideal workspace always incorporates a few key features. Here are the top 5 things you should keep in mind when upgrading a space in your home into the perfect home office setup.

Choose the Right Room

This is one of the most important steps when it comes to setting up your office space. If you have lots of rooms to choose from (for example, a spare room, a space in your living room, basement, etc.), think about the advantages and disadvantages of each room. You will also want to consider things you prioritize while working, such as privacy or natural light. If you require privacy to think properly, your living room may not be the best place to call your home office. However, if you feel like natural light helps stimulate productivity, you may have to weigh out which aspect is more important to you.

Think About The Ergonomics

Paying attention to the ergonomics of your workspace can make a dramatic difference in the amount of physical discomfort you feel while working. The basic ergonomic rules that you should keep in mind include:

  • The position of your chair so that your feet rest firmly on the floor or on a footrest
  • The position of your keyboard so that your forearms are parallel with the floor
  • The position of your computer so that the top of your screen is at eye level

Invest In The Proper Seating

You’re going to be spending a lot of time in your home office space daily (upwards of 8 hours), so be sure to invest in seating that serves you well. Seating that supports your back and neck posture will prevent shoulder strain. Talk to a professional from Harkel Office about what seating option is best to Get It Right in your home office space.

Don’t Get Distracted

A work from home office space is exactly that—an office. Ensuring that you have a separate space in your home that you can dedicate to your work will result in more productivity and a healthier work-life relationship. Be sure to eliminate any distractions from your office space (such as a TV or game consoles), and only use that space for a work if you are able to do so.

Harkel Office is the expert in all things office spaces. We work with our clients to Get It Right. If you’re looking to upgrade your office space, do it with us. Contact us at (705) 792-6671 to speak to one of our professionals today.

As the world changes, your workplace needs to change. Nowadays, this change is a demand to keep up with the highest standards of cleaning and sanitization in your workplace to ensure your employees safety. To support you in your effort to do this, we are providing you with an outline of infection-prevention protocols for your workplace’s safety and wellness. Here are some invaluable tips and tricks for your workplace.

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