In some ways, COVID-19 has reinvigorated the workforce. Gone is the trepidation and anxiety of two years ago, replaced by pandemic fatigue and a desire to get on with the job. However, some of that enthusiasm to return is tempered because people have experienced first-hand the convenience of working from home. Consequently, any attempt to bring your team back to the office will likely be an uphill battle.
This period of transition can be an opportunity for leaders who recognize the possibilities, though. Tap into the very things that your team loves about working remotely by reinventing your offices.
Many studies have discredited the outdated assumption that a deskbound job is not detrimental to your physical wellbeing. Instead, research shows that sitting for long periods contributes to cases of disease such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Despite the objective seriousness of such illnesses, simple changes to workplace furniture and routines can help reverse the damage. One way is to introduce ergonomic chairs and standing desks. They improve posture and breathing and contribute to better mood and energy levels.
There are a host of other modifications that can have an equally positive impact – desks that can be adjusted for height, storage compartments that are elevated to avoid bending down, and hypoallergenic fabrics and materials. Small layout changes to improve accessibility and an open floor plan may help as well.
While there is undoubtedly merit to uniformity, allowing team members to bring in their own, familiar furniture may also be conducive to comfort and, thus, productivity.
Remember that lighting is a key factor in setting the vibe for any space. There has been a marked shift away from the harshness of fluorescent lights over the past decade but take care not to simply replace them with ever-popular LEDs. Consider factors such as warmth or coolness as well as the effects of blue light.
We often overlook the important relationship between our performance and our daily routines. Keep in mind that even the most ergonomic furniture cannot combat the detrimental effects of just sitting in front of a screen for extended periods of time.
Instead of throwing money and gadgets at the problem, help your people by giving them the means and the opportunity to develop healthy routines. Suggest regular non-seating breaks. If possible, introduce the option of on-site wellness classes such as yoga and meditation to
combat the sedentary office lifestyle. Encourage everyone to take what they learn and apply it at home, too.
Most importantly, speak to your team and listen to their suggestions on how to create a workplace where people come first. This post-lockdown is the perfect opportunity to not only reinforce your commitment to your human resource capital but also to attract the best talent from your industry. For help crafting a thoughtfully-designed office, reach out today. I look forward to hearing from you.