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The Workplaces of the Future

I want you to close your eyes for a second.

Are they closed? Alright, imagine this.

Take yourself back to October 2019.

You are casually sitting next to your colleagues in the breakout room talking about the trashy reality TV you have been passively consuming over spring. Everyone in your office is going about their daily tasks without the slightest awareness of hell storm that is about to reign down them over the next 12 months. You finish that $17 salad you purchased at the local cafe and wrap up your conversation and return to your hot desk for an afternoon of preparing your next presentation for the boss (in your dream space – productivity is endless).

Now jump in the time machine. Not sure where it is? I can help you. It is located in the basement next to your end of trip facilities. You know, the area where all the wannabe Tour de France cyclists in your office (you know who you are) shower and change after their mad race to the office each morning.

Now we are not going too far into the future so no need to panic. Type in ‘July 2020’ and hit the big red button (always remember to strap on the seat belt and keep your arms and legs inside the time machine at all times).

Ok, you have arrived.

The office feels a lot quieter, doesn’t it?

You may be wondering where all your colleagues are? Well, chances are most of them are working from the comfort of their own homes. The office numbers have been reduced to accommodate only skeleton staff and essential workers.

This may be a little overwhelming, so feel free to take a seat on the new polyurethane seating in the lobby. Where are the big comfy fabric couches? They now share the same space as the ping pong table in the basement.

Now I know this is a lot to take in so let’s take a minute to explain how we ended up here.

Welcome to the office of the future and welcome to the new ‘normal’.

I know you are going to be a little disappointed that your favourite hang-out areas have been cordoned off and the kitchen area now has a list of rules as long as your arm, but I can assure you, this is all for your safety.

Over the last 6 months, there has been a significant amount of change in our daily lives. Our business practices have been forced to evolve, on pace with our knowledge of epidemiology.

As the business world grapples with the task of getting staff back into work, one innovative company based out of Amsterdam is fast-tracking professionals back into offices across the globe with their unique and innovative ‘6-Feet Office’. The creative team at Cushman & Wakefield has even used their own office space in the heart of Amsterdam to provide businesses with a true representation of how small innovations, can provide businesses globally with a road-map as we begin to enter the recovery phase of COVID-19.

The idea is brilliant in its simplicity and is broken down into 6 key principles.

 

Whilst many community restrictions will be relaxed over the next few months, social distancing is here to stay.

With some creative signage and flooring design, the 6 Feet Office subconsciously reinforces the concept of social distancing to limit the transmission of viruses.

Dark flooring outlines around desks highlight safe distances for communication between staff, disposable paper desk sheets sit under your technology devices and arrows on the floor indicate the flow of foot traffic around the office to reduce the ‘pinch points’, and eliminating the chance of accidentally running into colleagues as you both race for the printer.

As we begin to accelerate into a new phase there are many questions that still remain unanswered. Will there be a strong exodus of metro based businesses to the suburbs and regional areas to reduce overheads? Will we have more road traffic rather than less? Will our work hours begin to shift to avoid peak hours? These are just a few of the burning questions that must be solved in order for employees to return to the workplace as safe as possible.

Although the answers remain unclear, the response from businesses across the globe to find solutions to these problems and share their ideas, keeps me highly optimistic that the solution to many of these issues lies just around the corner.

Design, Health, Workspaces

Top 5 tips to survive working from home

ARE YOU SELF ISOLATING OR WORKING FROM HOME DURING COVID-19?

As many Australian workers are now being advised to self-isolate or asked by their employer to work from home, it is important to maintain healthy work practices.

We all tend to look for the laziest option when working from home (I am talking to you people who are reading this post from the comfort of your bed). Sitting six or more hours per day makes you up to 40% more likely to face adverse health conditions within 15 years, than someone who sits less than three. Always remember to get up, stretch out your spine and walk around the house. Not only does this increase blood flow around the body, but it also benefits your mental health during these uncertain times.

For many of us, our daily routines are paramount to the success of our day. Over the next few months, we must be more adaptable to change as news about constraints to our way of life continues to evolve on the hour.

Creating a workstation that will allow you to be actively engaged with your work away from the office is a fantastic way to stay motivated and stay positive throughout your day. De-clutter your workspace and maximise your storage. There is also a range of companies offering free or extended trial periods to assist those working remotely.

Use this time at home to create a workspace that you feel most comfortable. It is anyone’s guess as to how long some us will be working from the confines of own homes, so we all need to think about creative solutions to enable exciting and productive workspaces.

For some households, there may be more than one occupant working from home. Look at this with positivity and the opportunity for change. Who knows, your housemate or partner may share a new perspective on a work challenge you may be facing.

According to the World Health Organisation, it is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with a common household disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Be thorough when cleaning surfaces and always remember to avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

If you turn on the news at any given point in the day you would be forgiven for feeling a little blue. It is important to always remember that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. We will all get through this together.

If you or your loved ones are feeling overwhelmed there is a range of mental health support services available to help you through your day.

Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636
Lifeline – 13 11 14

The team at Lifeline has put together a shortlist of ideas to help those working from home in isolation.

  • Connection – think of creative ways to stay connected with others, including social media, email, and phone.
  • Be generous to others – giving to others in times of need not only helps the recipient, but it also enhances your wellbeing too. Is there a way to help others around you?
  • Stay connected with your values. Don’t let fear or anxiety drive your interactions with others.
  • Limit your exposure to news and media. Perhaps choose specific times of day when you will get updates, and ensure they are from reputable and reliable sources.
No matter your circumstance, stay positive, be compassionate, reach out to those around you and look after one another.

CONTACT US TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR AT-HOME WORKSPACE.

 

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