Office Design in the Post-COVID Era

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has changed the way we work, likely forever. What’s more, it’s also changing the spaces in which we work (or no longer work) and it’s important that businesses adjust to the different needs of their industry and their employees.

A number of organisations have had to terminate commercial leases and vacate property. More have downsized and moved into smaller spaces, and as a result, have had to fit out their new space with a new attitude to working in mind. Even more have redesigned their office and changed their existing fit-out, to better cater to a range of changes.

These are clear examples of why office design is continually changing in the post-COVID era, and why it’s important to keep up.

How much office space do you actually need?

It can be difficult to know how much office space your company needs at the best of times, let alone when mich of your workforce is still operating from home. However, failing to get the numbers right can cost your business financially, as well as impact staff and stakeholders. 

Therefore, to accurately work out how much office space your business needs when relocating or redesigning, you should take into consideration:

  • Staff numbers (integrated with flexible working arrangements)
  • Workstations
  • Meeting rooms
  • Amenities
  • Breakout areas.

Niche Tenant Advisory provides a free space calculator tool that will help you calculate the amount of space you need in your office.

What’s actually changed?

The main changes that we’re seeing through Sydney and the wider world involve three key points; changing attitudes to the way we work, the amount of space that office-based businesses actually require, and a renewed focus on workers, rather than just the work.

Different attitudes to working

Flexibility is now the name of the game… if a business hasn’t transitioned to some kind of flexible working arrangement, they’re being left behind. Flexible working can mean different things to different businesses and people, but for the most part, it means catering to different working types, maximising strengths and varying needs among your staff.

Flexible working can come in many forms: 

  • Flexible spaces within the office, such as for activity-based working
  • A shorter workweek
  • A compressed workweek, such as 40 hours in four days
  • Flex-time, whereby staff balance working in the office and at home, throughout the week.

Quality office design can make dynamic working far easier to implement. For instance, providing a range of different spaces for different working types, such as quiet working, activity-based working, and agile working, will help staff really find their niche and play to their strengths.

Research has shown that flexible working comes with a number of benefits for your workers, primarily centred around their well-being. It also increases satisfaction in the workplace and makes it more likely that your employees will participate in work related activities with more enthusiasm. 

Space requirements

The number of staff in offices across Sydney and the country has dropped significantly. Of course, many businesses were maintaining a work from home policy throughout the pandemic, and some still are. However, it’s almost guaranteed that the number of office workers in Sydney’s CBD will never return to pre-COVID levels. 

And for both staff and businesses, this can be a very good thing.

When it comes to fitting out a new office in 2022, a smaller space will also tend to translate into a more affordable Sydney office fit-out. This is the result of fewer workstations, less fixtures and fittings, and less office furniture required. To truly maximise an efficient fit-out, it’s important to work with an adept office design company.

Priority on people

Businesses must now firmly fix their sights on creating the best environment possible for their staff. People are the most valuable asset that a business has, so the investment must be significant in terms of thought, planning and financially.

Work-life balance is becoming more and more of a priority, and that’s for good reason. We’re seeing four-day work week trials becoming much more common, including in the United Kingdom, Norway, and Iceland. They come with mixed success, but mostly positive results in terms of productivity and importantly, employee satisfaction and stress levels

One poll found that workers between the ages of 18 and 24 were much more in favour of a four-day workweek than those above the age of 45, an indicator of the changing attitudes about a shift in the role of work in our lives.

When it comes to office design, prioritising the experience of your staff can come in many forms, including:

  • Ergonomic furniture to promote employee health
  • Better quality natural light and airflow
  • Greenery, for employee mental and physical health
  • High-quality amenities 
  • Integrating smart office design.

This is how to make sure your Sydney office fit-out is working for you

Smart design

Too many hours of productivity are lost to technological faults, every single day. Therefore, it’s important you implement smart design into your workplace, using the latest technology to get the best results. This will streamline processes, ensure your workers are enjoying their experience in the office, and will inevitably boost productivity by saving lost time.

Some ways to integrate smart design are:

  • Multi-faceted powerpoints, with charging capabilities
  • Newer, eco-friendly, and easy to use printers and scanners
  • Smart climate control
  • Smart lighting
  • Up-to-date software and applications.

There’s nothing more frustrating for your staff and worse for your business than an employee spending hours on a task that should take 10 minutes. Make sure that doesn’t happen by working with an office design company to integrate smart design into your office.

Look after your people

People are the most important part of any business, hands down. Therefore, it’s so important that in these times that are more trying than ever, you ensure your workspace is welcoming and conducive to a professional yet relaxing working environment.

There are several factors that will make your workspace more people-centric, some of which we’ve discussed above. These include smart design, flexible working options, high-quality amenities and employee-centric programs.

Another very important point to note is that your office will be a key factor in attracting the best employees to your company. Unemployment is currently at record lows and therefore, top talent is in high demand. By ensuring your office is truly catering to the needs of your workers, you’ll be taking a big step towards attracting the best talent to your company.

Be sustainable

Sustainable office design is fundamental to what we do here at Niche Projects. Thankfully, sustainability is more achievable than ever, especially now if you are fitting out a new, post-COVID workplace or redesigning your existing office.

At Niche Projects, we ensure that we use sustainable materials and products, such as recycled and recyclable fixtures, fittings and surfaces. What’s more, we can ensure that your space maximises natural elements like light and airflow. More light and better airflow can help to reduce costs, as well as lower energy consumption in your workplace.

Get to work with a Sydney office design and fit-out company

The best way to ensure your workplace is geared for success in the post-COVID era is to work with a dynamic, professional office design and fit-out company. At Niche Projects, we’ve helped plenty of clients achieve their perfect workspace, boosting productivity and prioritising people.

We understand the needs of businesses in this new era of working and can help design your ideal workspace. From there, we’ll source the perfect materials and ensure that your Sydney office fit-out is completed to the highest standards.
With Niche Projects on your side, you’ll be poised for success in the post-COVID era.