It feels like many people are slowly re-emerging from seemingly endless pandemic hibernation, digging their way out of their remote locations, reluctantly changing their sweats for something less comfortable and returning to their offices. The timeline and speed of this process of course highly varies depending on where you are located, but sooner or later, most of us will need to consider yet another ‘new normal’.
And just like all the new routines we had to adapt to over the past 18 months, whether it's working from home, working more or less or different hours or annoying (yet important!) hygiene concepts at the office - we now have to re-think the way we want to work together all over again.
But what does that mean?
At our organisation, we were allowed to work from home over the past months and as it looks like will keep this privilege even as the world opens up again. This of course has many individual benefits but also makes working together in large teams a bigger challenge. This ‘remote focus’ (as our new way of working was coined) means most meetings will be held remotely and our office spaces will change to fit our new needs: focus areas, spaces to collaborate, little phone booths for privacy etc.
But what does this really mean?
Hearing we might not have fixed desks and or team spaces, but book desks or areas according to our needs honestly scares me a little. Sure, it’s great to guarantee the flexibility to take every meeting from any location, to possibly save office space we wouldn’t use and try to treat both remote and on location as equally as possible - but what if we lose our sense of community? I’m afraid I’ll end up sitting in an anonymous ‘focus area’ at a steril desk and only see my teammates in remote video calls. That can’t be the future, right?
How can we manage remote and real-life cooperation? What do the new office spaces even need? Should we maybe re-think the way we work all together?
How are you addressing these issues in your organisation? Did you already return to the offices? Did you learn something in 1+ year working from home that you wish you knew before? (How) did you manage to keep the community spirit alive? I’m super curious to learn how you are doing this and if you already got some post-pandemic office hacks :)