Creating the workplace in the 1.5 meter society goes further than moving desks; it offers the opportunity to redesign the way of working (together). To embrace new possibilities and solve existing irritations that employees, employers and society had.
Adjusting to the 1.5 meter society
Working from home, remote meetings and remote drinks; it is now a piece of cake for many of us. The first weeks were all about setting up the workplace at home (my neck! my back!) and actively managing the home and work balance (‘no, mom is on the phone right now’). This new life now feels more and more normal. Slowly, we are already talking about ‘life after Corona’ and we are thinking about the design of the ‘1.5 meter society’. The hospitality industry and retail are making plans for this, but organizations where employees traditionally work in the office are also wondering how they should adapt their workplaces and office spaces.
It is of course obvious to move the desks a little further apart and to make a policy about how many people are allowed in the elevator and through the entrance gates at the same time. But then you’re not there yet. In fact, you create an impoverishment of the workplace; “It looks like the office garden we used to have, but with more distance.”
A new perspective on the workplace
That can also be done differently; why don’t we challenge ourselves to look at the workplace in a different way: how do the physical and digital space best support us to do the work that lies ahead? We choose what space and facilities we need, rather than adapting to the workplace we are forced into.
What type of work can be done effectively in the office and what could be better done remotely?
- Working contentrated may be difficult at home right now, but when the children go back to school and daycare, the home workplace is ideal for this.
- Meetings where everyone is present remotely force us to be well prepared and are therefore efficient.
- The office space becomes a location for inspiration and collaboration – not meetings. This makes the endless sea of desks superfluous.
- Digital resources can help solve problems we encountered in this pilot, forced by Corona; what are my colleagues and employees doing? How busy is that one colleague at the moment and can I disturb her?
Co-create the ideal workspace with employees
The Corona crisis is of course a terrible period for many. However, one of the measures that has been taken, the forced working from home, is also a unique experiment in which we experience more quickly what digital resources and working from home can bring us. All your employees are now experts in the field of office gardens and environments, as well as working from home and digital resources. Let’s use this period to learn from and shape this ideal workplace together with employees.
Within service design we use the Cultural Probes method for this. We ask employees to record relevant things in their lives for a number of days by taking photos, describing them and reflecting on previous situations. We use the following main questions for this:
- what do you like about the current way of working?,
- what are you looking forward to when you can come back to the office,
- what do you dread when you have to come back to the office.
The personal situations and preferences recorded by participants give an honest picture of what works and what doesn’t. This is the basis for co-creation workshops with participants, colleagues in this case. In these workshops we use different working methods to arrive at a dream image of ‘the ideal workplace’.
We make a concrete translation of this dream image into requirements and wishes for the various workplace locations, digital resources, and into agreements regarding working hours, presence at locations, accessibility, etc.
Embrace new possibilities and solve old problems
Redefining the workplace in co-creation with your colleagues not only provides an office environment that takes into account the changes that the 1.5 meter society demands of us, but also solves the problems that employees, employers and society had due to the traditional manner of working.
The result: an ideal workplace – a self-selected combination of locations and (digital) resources that optimally support you and your colleagues to do your work as effectively as possible.