Return to the Office Icon

Once the threat of COVID-19 subsides, the business world that emerges will be very different. This ‘new normal’ will see the workforce expecting a more flexible approach to the way we work and a reduction in real estate needs.

Large parts of the workforce will want to reduce commute times and work more flexibly. The office will become a place to collaborate and meet with clients.

Condeco can help you safely return to the office and manage the new normal.

Transitioning to the new normal

Workplaces before lockdown

Most employees worked in the office, with occasional working from home options. Workplaces were mainly designed for either assigned desks or for mobile workers who used hot-desking, which was mainly operated as free-addressing – turn up and sit down. With 1.2 employees per desk as the accepted ratio for non-assigned workspaces and around 10m2 per workspace for higher density benches and team tables.

Today: Returning to the office

60% of employees will remain working from home due to safety of commuting and reduced desk availability in the office. Booking a desk for a whole day in the office will be the requirement in order to meet new sanitization rules, with no free-addressing available. Employee to desk ratios will change, with three employees per usable desk, and the space per desk increasing to 20m2 to meet social distancing mandates. Overnight sanitization of workspaces will be performed before employee changeover.

Long-term: The new normal office

Fully adopted flexible working practices with employees choosing where to work will become the new global standard, coming into the office infrequently to collaborate and meet clients. Employees will continue to reserve desk spaces when visiting the office meaning a significant reduction in real estate, with 15m2 per workspace provision as the norm and reduced use of open benching and team tables, reducing employee demand for office space.

Flexible working now the norm

Flexible working is no longer optional and free addressing will be impractical, inappropriate and quite possibly expressly forbidden.

  • Before employees even arrive at the office, a clear and transparent framework of where they will be working from and who with, will be needed for health, trust and practical reasons.
  • Employee flexibility means being able to choose office versus remote working: Office-bound days will mean outlining which days these will be and choosing a desk or area to work from; days out the office will need to be noted so co-workers know too.

Flexible working in socially distant offices

Bulb Icon

Did you know?

In 2020, 62% of businesses expect to see remote working increase significantly*.

Flexible booking of workspace in offices

Actively managing workspaces

Re-shaping the office to manage workstation availability and sanitization.

  • Keeping track of workstation usage and cleanliness, as well as employee working times will be an absolute must.
  • Maintaining a clean workspace is a key part of the advice from the World Health Organization, especially in offices where different employees will use the same desk space at different times; and planning on how you can quickly close spaces should there be a problem.
  • Employee contact tracing would help monitor who is working where, when and with whom; providing vital information if action is needed.
  • Condeco desk management software can help you solve these new workspace management challenges.

Reconfigure workspace for less dense environments

Reconsidering desk layouts so you can ensure social distancing requirements.

  • There is likely to be a significant period after your office reopens where you will need to follow your local government guidelines on social distance for your office. The distancing requirements will vary, but general consensus is 6-feet or two meters.
  • Think about the layout of desks to maximize the number of people who can work in the building safely at any one time. But in most offices, these restrictions will reduce the maximum number to a level far below the total workforce.
  • Closing spaces and taking desk offline from the floorplan allow you to quickly rethink your workspace, only allowing employees to book open and safe spaces.

Contact tracing and social distancing in the office

Guide: Returning to the office after COVID-19

Free to download our guide to helping you return to the office and plan for the future of our workplace.

Download now

Updating the workspace purpose

Rethinking your office purpose: less capacity but more collaboration.

  • Many employees will want to take full advantage of flexible working models and reduced commuting needs; offices will increasingly become places primarily for meeting and collaborating.
  • As the number of people who can work in the office will be reduced, we allow you to limit the number of days each employee can book a desk for, focusing them on when they really need to come to the office. And set up teams and groups to reduce circulation but ensure the right people can still collaborate with each other.
  • Meeting spaces can have their capacity quickly reduced to support with distancing needs, but support collaboration. You can also manage check-in and check-out times to prevent large numbers of employees and visitors arriving in the office simultaneously.

Technology resolves practical workspace issues quickly

Tools that deliver for your employees and business alike.

  • Trying to divide the workforce into separate groups, who can come in at different times or on different days, isn’t a practical long-term solution to managing workplace capacity. It doesn’t provide any flexibility for employees and stops collaboration across groups and departments; and doesn’t address challenges around sanitization, cleanliness and contact tracing.
  • Technology manages day-to-day issues quickly and efficiently, whilst respecting employee’s need to choose where and when they want to work, based on their work-life needs and collaboration tasks.
  • There’s no need to divide the company into groups or teams and give specific days they can come in, which hinders meeting and collaboration across teams, and helps prioritize key workers who need to be in the office daily, whilst giving more flexibility to those who don’t.
  • Stop the admin burden as workspace management technology automatically gives a clear schedule of the office occupancy, so there’s no need to police the space or worry about over-capacity issues. And can help ensure spaces are clean, safe and properly managed giving employees the confidence needed to return to the office.

Flexible working in socially distant offices

Return on Investment

A strong technology-based solution is the only way to effectively manage the return to the office, but the investment in technology will be repaid in productivity and an eventual reduction in real estate.

Return to the office

  • Increase business productivity by returning to a level of normality with employees able to meet with their teams to better collaborate and plan.
  • Increase customer interaction with the ability to safely meet clients at the office.
  • Meet government guidelines on employee safety and sanitization reduces potential risk of litigation.
  • 50% less cleaning costs by only deep cleaning desks when employee changeovers are scheduled.

The new normal

  • 50% reduction in real estate cost can be achieved by right-sizing the workspace to meet the new levels of demand.
  • 100% reduction in disaster recovery costs are possible by removing the need to have alternative workspaces permanently available and changing to working from home in the event of an issue.
  • Improve employee productivity and talent attraction by providing a true flexible working environment where employees can choose where they work from, which reduces commute times, stress and promotes employee general wellbeing.

How do I manage the return to the workplace?

Flexibility and reduced reliance on physical offices are set to become long-term arrangements. So what will the key ‘new normal’ trends be and how do we deliver them?

A strong technology-based solution is the only way to effectively manage the return to the office, but the investment in technology will be repaid in productivity and an eventual reduction in real estate.

Curved Lines

Agile Working

Desk management systems

Enable social distancing in the workplace by controlling space and capacity to ensure employees are not exposed to risk.

Find out more

Agile Working

Mobile space booking 
on the move

Find and book available workspace on the mobile app or mark as ‘working from home’ easily.

Find out more

Agile Working

Cloud technology

Standardize onto one single, scalable and secure workplace management solution in Microsoft Azure Cloud.

Find out more

Other solutions

Management Icon

Improve management of
meeting room bookings

Learn more

Experience Icon

Simplify the entire workspace
booking experience and
improve productivity

Learn more

Cloud Icon

Standardize onto one, globally
scalable, cloud-based workspace
scheduling solution

Learn more

Recommended download

Guide: Returning to the office after COVID-19

Free to download our guide to helping you return to the office and plan for the future of our workplace.

Ready to learn more?

Request a demo      Watch a demo video