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It's estimated that 1 in 4 Americans are currently working from home due to COVID-19. That's nearly 40 million Americans who have grown accustomed to the comfort of their home offices, the trials of videoconferencing, and multitasking home and work responsibilities. But what does this mean for employers who plan to bring them back into the office in the coming year?

For some, it will mean assessing whether or not to offer permanent work-from-home opportunities. But for those who are planning to bring the whole team back, it will mean making sure to provide accommodations that feel as personal, comfortable, and functional as their own home office. So how can we create spaces that employees can't wait to come back to? It starts by finding a direction forward and anticipating what will help every team member thrive. In this post, we'll be using Compass to find everything you need to create a commercial environment in a new world.

Step 1: Find Your Direction Forward

Even if your company has been successful throughout the pandemic, it's time to reassess and find a direction forward. What goals are you hoping to achieve as an organization? Perhaps you'd like to increase collaboration, strengthen communication, or improve productivity? For leaders, map these goals out as you begin your journey. Then, meet with your team to find out their individual goals. Ask them what tools they will need to succeed. Find out what environments they thrive best in. Together, you can get back on the same page after months of working with the barrier of distance to come together once again.

Step 2: Chart a Course

Once goals have been established, it's time to map out your journey to success. If your employees have been relying on integrative technology while working from home, those tools need to be provided to maintain a flexible and communicative work environment. Remember that while employees were home, they had their own way of organizing and maintaining materials. Providing plenty of space for this type of individual work in a collaborative setting with help keep everyone stay on task and save time. When tools are easily accessible, productivity rises and stress decreases. Be sure to provide storage cabinets that are customizable to the activities of your workers to they have everything they need to succeed.

Step 3: Build Your Ideal Vessel

If your office was one-size-fits-all pre-pandemic, it's time for a change. Workers' expectations of a comfortable professional environment will have changed after working from home. Your office space needs to be welcoming, inspiring, and functional. Imagine it as building a ship for your journey. What supplies do you need, and what kind of atmosphere do you want to create? To facilitate achievement, choose pieces for your office that are roomy, stylish, and highly customizable. Large, makerspace tables can suit any work environment to enable everything from creating blueprints to brainstorming meetings. With versatile options for makerspace tables, you can choose the ideal heights for tables so that teammates can stand and remain mobile throughout the day. Since we know movement improves productivity and mood, employees will flourish in an environment that mobile.

Step 4: Set Sail

Once you've set up your environment for a successful journey forward, you're ready for takeoff. But before departing for any endeavor, it's good to have a checklist complete. Ask yourself and your leadership (or those who are designing your space):

  • Do we have functional furniture that facilitates the activities of this office in order to help our people succeed?

  • Is our office equipped with ample storage for individual and group use of supplies and tools?

  • Is there enough surface area for writing, brainstorming, or creating on each of our tables?

  • Is there a sense of mobility and flow in our office space? Are pieces easily moveable to be reconfigured when we sense we need for change?

  • Does our furniture reflect our company's mission, style, and personality? Do the colors and aesthetic we've chosen create a sense of belonging? Is this the kind of space people want to work for hours at a time?

  • Does this environment facilitate collaboration and interaction? Are there large tables for meeting, soft seating for lounging, and interactive tech for continued flex and global communicating?

If you've answered "yes" to all of these questions, congratulations! You've create an ideal environment for success that considers the needs of your employees. Your office is ready for the new frontier of a post-pandemic economy.

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