Earning the Commute
Workplace expectations have changed dramatically over the past two years. In 2022, working from a traditional office isn’t the given that it used to be. Since remote work has become much more common, companies that want their employees to come into the office must think carefully about providing a commute-worthy space. This space design includes the layout and types of spaces available and factors like lighting and temperature.
Why Have an Office at All?
As the pandemic prompted a rapid shift to remote work, many office-based employees could experience the workplace with no commute for the first time. Many employees are happy with this change, with 58% saying they would quit their jobs if required to return to the office full-time. However, remote work can be isolating and make it more difficult to connect and collaborate with coworkers.
To balance these considerations, many companies are settling into a hybrid model where employees commute to work on some days and work from home on other days. With the competitive hiring market and the Great Resignation, employee retention has become more difficult and important than ever. Company culture and the office environment are extremely important to modern workers, so it’s important for businesses to earn the commute by providing pleasant, engaging office space.
Considerations for a Commute-Worthy Office
New norms have prompted many employees to rethink what a reasonable commute to work consists of. If your business wants to support in-person work, you’ll need to improve your office to make commuting feel worthwhile. Think about these important factors when designing your space.
Lighting can have a major impact on your employees’ mood and comfort. Ideally, let as much natural light into your office as possible. However, this is probably not an area you have much control over. The number of windows in your office and the way they’re facing is probably already set, meaning it’s important to offer plenty of electric lighting.
You’ll want to include both ambient and task lighting. You should also consider whether to use warm or cool-toned bulbs in different spaces. Cooler lighting can help with focused and analytical tasks, while warmer light encourages relaxation, socialization, and creativity. To take advantage of this, put cooler lights in individual workspaces and warmer ones in collaborative areas. Also, think about lighting placement to eliminate glare, which is unpleasant and uncomfortable.
If you’d like to switch back to full-time in-office work, your employees will probably want their own traditional desks. However, regular desks and cubicles may no longer make sense if your company uses a hybrid model. Instead, consider creating different spaces for different types of work. For example, set up a space for quiet, focused, individual work and a space for relaxed, collaborative conversations. Your employees probably have comfortable, dedicated workspaces at home, so they’re looking for more flexible and unique spaces when they commute to work.
You might associate foosball tables in the break room and onsite walking trails with trendy startups trying really hard to be cool places to work. However, as illogical as it seems, these fun spaces can actually be incredibly productive. Taking a moment to step away from work, relax and do something else for a while can help in several different work situations. When your employees are stuck on a complicated problem or are trying to think of creative ideas, these spaces can help them think better. When designing a fun break space, it’s important to make sure that it’s separate from spaces where people are trying to focus. Having separate spaces for focus ensures that the space is a break rather than a distraction.
Ergonomics are just as important in a modern, flexible office as they are in traditional ones. Make sure to offer high-quality ergonomic chairs and desks. Since multiple employees will be using the workstations, make sure to choose adjustable chairs and desks so employees of different heights can get a good fit. Cozy spots like couches should also be available. Moving between a couch and a desk can make the work environment extra comfortable for your employees.
The office thermostat is a notorious source of conflict. According to pre-pandemic data, UK workers spent 2% of their work time on temperature disagreements, costing the economy £13 billion per year. In the US, 42% of workers think their office is too warm, while 56% think it’s too cold. If you’re asking your employees to commute to work, it’s important to get the office temperature right.
The ideal office temperature should be between 71 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit as a starting point. For additional guidance, think about the type of work your employees are doing. Like lighting, different temperatures are better for different types of thinking. A cooler office is better for mathematical problem-solving and repetitive tasks. A warmer space can lead to more creativity and collaboration. If your office space allows, zone-based heating and cooling that lets you set different temperatures in different rooms can be a good solution as it lets you adjust temperatures based on the purpose of the room and employees’ individual preferences.
Considering all of these factors is important for retaining your employees in a competitive market. They’ll be much happier commuting to work if the office is comfortable, collaborative, and engaging.
Create High-Performing Teams with ROSI Office Systems
When office workers’ average commute to work became essentially nothing, standards for the office environment increased. Designing an employee-friendly office that encourages your hybrid workforce to come in can be difficult.
There are many different factors to consider and balance. ROSI Office Systems offers a wide range of physical office solutions, including furniture, design advice, and moveable walls. We’re both the manufacturer and the distributor so we can offer in-depth advice and customized pieces. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our experts today.
Photo Credits: Prathankarnpap