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how the pandemic has affected our workplace

The office has been subject to one of the biggest shifts in working patterns throughout the pandemic. At Mobius Works, we have carried out projects in numerous working spaces over the past 12 months so we know things are changing. How has your office space and working habits altered?

With offices being shut and staff working from home, there has been a very rapid and experimental change in habits for the majority of staff. During the first lockdown there was a lot of ‘finding your feet’ for people and a desire to get back to the office for some normality and social interaction, however as the pandemic went on and lockdowns 2 & 3 progressed, the home working population generally found a way of working that suited them and started to give them a sense of work / life balance as well. Combining this with companies looking at future-proofing finances for the unknown and so reviewing property portfolios and physical presence, we have found more and more companies asking us to look at how we look at a new blended work place.

It is becoming apparent across many sectors, that the new normal may well be a 2/3 day split across the working week, of 2-3 days home working for focused time and video meetings, mixed with then a couple of days per week in the more traditional office environment for true team collaboration, meetings and general social working. We are getting this feedback from SME’s as well as multi-nationals across all business sectors, so whilst there will always be peripheral companies working in a traditional office environment of a one to one desk ration 5 days per week, or a completely agile work force with no physical base, it appears that the majority of companies will be looking to transition their office spaces in to more activity based working areas.

This will mean a change in desk ratio, more hot desks, an increase in meeting pods, rooms and collaborative work spaces along with shared and more informal touch down pieces to truly support the ongoing changes to the physical office. This will have a direct change on the furniture industry with an increase in landscape furniture and decrease in conventional desk set-ups. This is in much the same way as the move in the early 2000’s from cellular desk pods of the American style to a more open plan desk landscape and how that formed a major shift in working patterns and design trends.

Whilst we see this shift in office space happening now because of and as a response to the pandemic and changing staff requirements, we feel it will be here to stay and there will not be a gradual shift back to old ways. This is because of the greater efficiency and better working environment it offers staff, combined with the reduced overheads to the business due to reduction in physical space requirements. What do you think? How has your office changed?

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