As we look to the future of our workplace, it is important we plan for the initial phases of the return to the office but also have the foresight to look to what the long-term change will be to the way we work.

Before lockdown, most employees worked in the office and some had occasional working from home. Workplaces were mainly configured with either fixed desks or hot-desks for flexible working, which was mainly operated as free-addressing where employees could turn up and sit down wherever there was a space. The accepted ratio of 1.2 employees per desk for flexible desk spaces, with around 10m2 per workspace for higher density benches and team tables.

As we return to the office, around 60% of employees will remain working from home due to health and safety of commuting and reduced desk density in their offices. Employees will be required to book a desk for an entire day at the office in order to meet new sanitization rules. There will be no free-addressing available, so employees won’t be able to pitch up at the office and pick a spare space and work. The employee to desk ratio will change, with three employees per usable desk, and the space per desk increasing to 20m2 to meet social distancing guidelines. Sanitization of workspaces will be managed carefully and performed overnight before employee changeover.

The new normal office with a long-term view will adopt flexible working practices fully giving employees choice where to work, where they come into the office more infrequently when they need to collaborate, and meet clients. Employees will continue to reserve desk spaces when visiting the office meaning a significant reduction in real estate needs, with desk space provisions dropping slightly to 15m2, but higher than before lockdown, and see a reduced use of open benching and team tables, as we see a reducing employee demand for office space.

As the global market leader in workspace scheduling software, we are uniquely positioned to meet the new challenges presented by Covid-19 and help you return to the ‘new normal’.

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