The lockdown we all experience may seem frustrating to some. Yet I personally feel that it can also stimulate creativity and the thought process. The workload does not seem to be easing (quite the contrary) but there is still the opportunity to unwind as most other activities outside the work context have slowed down considerably!

In these troubled times, the same thought keeps popping into my mind: what on earth will our office look like once we have fully returned to our workplace. It won’t be the same, that’s for sure, but what will the 20-21 office look like?

Here some thoughts:

1. Video is taking a larger share

  • everyone now knows how to use video as a valid and efficient meeting tool
  • people realize that it saves time
  • talking to someone via video is not the same as face-to-face, but it comes close and saves displacement (read: less pollution

2. Work from home regularly

  • You have become accustomed to working from home and have developed your rhythm
  • the need to be in the office every day seems less
  • it saves travel time (read: less pollution)

3. Office permanence

  • let’s face it, it’s still important for an office to be staffed to remain accessible by phone and physically
  • instead of full attendance of the entire team, sufficient persons must be available during office hours.
  • team members will alternate their presence to ensure that all guests are taken care of. Good planning is essential here
  • but it is no longer necessary for everyone to be in the office every day of the week

4. When working in the office

  • standing tables and conference tables are the trend
  • when meeting people, replace the handshake with a nod or bow (like in Japan), it is safer
  • make sure there is enough space between people during a meeting (physical distance)
  • dog sitters may be the next trend. Since your four-legged friends have become so accustomed to having their owners at home, they might otherwise get lonely

5. Working conditions at home

  • employers who increase home-working opportunities can offer their employees ergonomic facilities, such as a chair, a large home screen,…
  • employees who work from home may have difficulty separating work and personal tasks. They could receive notifications reminding them when it is time to work and when it is time to take a break or stop
  • flexible hours should be possible if possible, and it is important that team members know from each other who is available when
  • Clear goals are necessary and it is helpful to schedule regular video meetings for status updates (also to keep social contact going)
  • it’s all about commitment and trust

6. New features and tools

  • at small companies, colleagues can organize HR planning between themselves and their management; for large organizations, this can lead to chaos
  • hence our suggestion for new functions and tools: HR Planner – the “go to” person who oversees all schedules and with whom you can check what is and is not possible.
  • Homeworking scheduling tool, here lies an opportunity for software developers, can be developed or integrated into the HR platforms that large companies already use today

We expect other trends, such as employee sharing between companies, office space sharing between companies, smaller offices (because fewer people are working at the same time), the possibility of employees working two part-time jobs or allowing freelance activity in addition to the full-time job.

Finally, after the so-called social (or rather physical) distance, there will be a need to reconnect people and bring back “social closeness” Coming to the workplace will no longer be exclusively about working together, but about coming together, making things happen as a team and having fun.

If this article has triggered you, please share your thoughts on the topic. Please respond via LinkedIn so we can start the conversation!

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