The coronavirus pandemic has raised everyone’s awareness about the surroundings in which we live and work. With more focus towards health and wellness, employers are now responsible for solving the puzzle of how to plan, organize, and transition employees back into the office. How to convince people that the buildings they use are safe is an important variable, too.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, we believe that social distancing requirements in shared office spaces can be accommodated with assigned seating technology, capacity enforcement, and none to minimal physical remodelling, as there’s still a lot of uncertainty about how the post-pandemic workplace will look like.
A clash between opportunities and capabilities
For some, social distancing is a deep well of inspiration. In the past few months, the design community has expressed its flourishing creativity with project’s like Cushman and Wakefield’s Six Feet Office, and even looked beyond the walls by installing meeting areas outdoors. Freestanding meeting structures, limited capacity lounges and spaced out individual work areas, open entryways and generous circulation paths - these are just a few space refinement ideas for a post-pandemic workplace.
Truth is, many office managers find themselves in a situation where opportunities exceed capabilities. Some of them cannot afford a high-level location remodeling because of high expenses, others find it troublesome for operations. Many choose to invest in more “deep down” solutions, such as modern air filtering systems or touchless tech. Additionally, the layout modifications raises a flexibility issue: if guidance on physical distancing shifts from 6 feet to another dimension, the work environments will need to adapt, yet again.
Assigned seating in limited capacity workspaces
Assigned seating is a space management method allowing to designate workspaces to employees, so that only they can reserve them in advance. It is not to be mixed with the open-seat based concept of hot desking, where employees book a desired workspace once they are in the office, based on the “first come, first served” principle.
In the transitional office, an assigned seating policy can help establish bigger and more distanced personal workspaces, minimize interactions between co-workers, and maintain hygiene standards. Besides, when it comes to luring employees back to work, instead of just claiming that appropriate measures have been taken, they are invited to share responsibility in planning the seating themselves.
With YAROOMS Desks, each employee can reserve dedicated workspaces in advance. The process takes into account capacity restraints (on building or floor level), and prevents bookings which exceed the limits. To maintain physical distance, reservation of certain spaces can be disabled. This information is clearly displayed in an interactive office layout plan, helpful for real-time space usage tracking. Depending on the space type and the unique requirements of your business, different rules and behaviours can be set up.
Assign or redesign?
As an actionable exercise, changing the office’s layout and moving around furniture might seem an obvious way to space out the workplace. However, it can as well be achieved in less tangible fashion, by focussing on constant planning instead of resource allocation. Adapting an assigned seating approach is also cheaper, compared to the complex logistics of office redesign.
Take a look at this list, comparing cost-involving steps of an office layout remodeling project, and adopting a solution like YAROOMS Desks to manage assigned seating:
This list would go on and on if we’d include time-related expenses, such as forming a team of responsibles, investigating partners and suppliers, as well as acquiring necessary permissions.
The socially distanced reality has a firm grip on everyone, but it is not expected to last forever. Big, pricey strategies might lead to other just as consuming projects, when the standards will shift. Meanwhile, the usage of an agile YAROOMS Desks solution can be rapidly adapted to any other model, for example, hot desking.
Did we convince you about the power of assigned seating? Let’s talk so we can understand your business better, and offer a tool encompassing not only a solution to your workplace’s problems, but also incredible time and cost savings.