Human Connection Matters.
Updated: Aug 5, 2020
Clear your mind and think back to the evening of 31st December 2019. Imagine watching the countdown, preparing to toast and cheer with loved ones and envision the wonders that the New Year will bring…
How many of us would have expected this?
In the spring of 2020, we found ourselves in unfamiliar territory, amidst Covid-19 a global pandemic, which months later is still vastly affecting aspects of everyday life. Offices, like many other working environments advised employees to work from home and, although businesses were apprehensive regarding staff productivity, this simulation of change in workplace strategy has seen particular success, as well as highlighting additional benefits of a new office concept. This leads us to contemplate, how we can ensure human connectivity and culture are reinforced in the post-pandemic workplace, whilst prioritising a safe office environment and achieving new goals in office design?
The workplace is vital for almost every organisation. It is where creative collaboration is enhanced, values are passed on and effectively it is where the soul of the company is forged. By deepening social connections within the workplace, people can lower their levels of stress, depression, increase self-esteem, trust, and expand on their social skills.
At NU-London, we understand the importance of human connection and whilst developing 'CoVis', these attributes of wellbeing were fundamental factors to the design. It is collaboration friendly, virtually invisible and holds the ability to tailor ergonomically to each individual, whilst optimising the necessary protection.
Upon return to office life it is crucial to understand that, after having been catapulted into social distancing and self-isolation, this experience will lead to significant change in our work habits and expectations. More than ever, we insist on adopting a culture that promotes positive affects for our physical and mental wellbeing.
“Companies and their people working together to create personalised, authentic experiences that ignite passion and tap into purpose to strengthen individual, team and company performance." - The base to one of many concepts constructed by MCM,
'The Return to Human'.
Another model put forth for the future of workplace expresses 'Community Nodes' and the decentralised HQ. Instead of one big central hub, what if companies opted for smaller neighbourhood offices near their employee’s homes? This option incorporates both the social aspect and “club” environment of the office, however introduces higher flexibility of working location.
"The offices will be closer to people’s homes making significant impact on the ‘time’ challenges of the old working models and supporting people to ‘live and work locally’ in tribes,” - Amanda Stanaway, Global Workplace Design Leader at Woods Bagot.
With many post-pandemic workplace visions being birthed, it is evident that industry is excited by fresh innovations driving design forward, whilst being considerate of protection and social cultures. Having suffered months of separation, it is more likely that we will fail to see the once considered "return of the booth” and it will be interesting to see which businesses go in what direction. For the organisations that get this right, expect benefits including: increased work/life balance, better physical and mental wellbeing, increased performance and productivity, a more diverse office portfolio with the potential to reduce costs.
One thing is certain, the disruption of Covid-19 has been a catalyst to rethink the role and design of the office, which has been forever changed.
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