Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have had the opportunity – and experienced the necessity – to evaluate their relationship to their office space. Suddenly, offices sat empty, while businesses continued paying rent, and even now that reopening is on the horizon, many of those previous spaces seem more like a burden than a benefit. With that in mind, many are considering relocating to more suitable post-pandemic spaces.
Evaluating Your Needs
If your business is among those considering a new office space, one of the first things you need to consider is what steps your business needs to take to reopen safely. This includes setting up barriers and providing visual cues to help people navigate the building safely, as well as ensuring that there is ample physical space to accommodate the workers onsite.
Because of the need for social distancing, most businesses are resigned to the fact that they will need to build more flexibility into seating arrangements and meeting spaces; most also only intend to bring back some staff, using a rotating schedule. The result may actually be a reduced office footprint with split staffing. Individuals need more space, but businesses likely need less.
Once you have a sense of what your business needs to operate in this post-pandemic environment, one of the next things you’ll want to consider is how to make that transition with minimal downtime. That’s easier than it would be at other times, since most staff are still offsite, but packing up your office can still be a hassle, which is why it’s helpful to work with local commercial movers. They’ll have the skills needed to efficiently and safely pack office equipment, including delicate electronics and large pieces of furniture.
Other Safety Steps
Barriers and one-way lanes of movement were helpful starting places for modifying offices during the pandemic, but many businesses that are in the process of relocating are doing so in part because they hope to find spaces that can accommodate additional precautions. That includes moving to spaces with better ventilation since it’s often not possible to retrofit older buildings for the types of ventilation systems recommended under COVID-related precautions.
Offering Support And Embracing Flexibility
As much as businesses are changing their physical spaces in order to accommodate changing work conditions and needs, even as they relocate, leadership will need to offer added support and flexibility to team members. Some staff have likely relocated during the past year, often to more affordable locations or to be close to family, and will want to remain entirely remote. Additionally, many childcare centers permanently closed due to lost income, leaving parents without options for their young children and causing many fathers or mothers to leave the workforce. Businesses should take those concerns into account as well when determining how to accommodate staff.
To say that businesses are relocating because of the pandemic and changing office space needs is something of an understatement; everything about work today is different and that shift shouldn’t be underestimated.
As important as finding the right new office space is, then, business leaders need to see the big picture as they make sense of what their teams need to be successful and stay connected, no matter where they’re based.