PLAINFIELD, IL, FEBRUARY 24, 2022 -- According to a Pew Research survey released this month, 59% of employees with jobs that can be done remotely are still working from home two years into the pandemic. Now, after getting delayed over and over again, return-to-work dates might finally stick, bringing reluctant workers back to an unfamiliar place: the office.
Sam Cicero, President of Cicero Construction Group, a leading general contractor specializing in the renovation of commercial properties, believes an office renovation is a great way to welcome back the American workforce as business returns to bustling normalcy or something close to it.
"Just as businesses had to adapt quickly to survive during the coronavirus pandemic, they'll need to be just as agile to ensure success after it, especially when it comes to retaining current employees and attracting new talent in a competitive market," said Cicero. "An office renovation is a crucial step in that direction as it encourages a fresh, hopeful attitude and lets employees know they are appreciated."
Below, Cicero explains the benefits of renovating your office and how to design it so that your employees will want to come back.
Think of an office renovation as a welcome back gift to employees. In these trying times, a fresh new office space will arise hope in the minds of pandemic weary employees and get them motivated to take their work to the next level. Numerous studies have shown that people who work in bright, beautiful and comfortable offices are more productive and engaged. Having satisfied employees has also proven to reduce turnover, increase retention rates and minimize sick leaves.
Attract Top-Tier Talent
Renovating an office may pique the interest of talented workers looking to make a career move. Consider this: a survey by Microsoft indicated that 41% of the global workforce would consider switching jobs in the next twelve months, with 55% noting that work environment would play a role in their decisions.
Adding energy-efficient, eco-friendly engineering into an office renovation plan can significantly decrease electricity, gas, and water bills that account for as much as 50% of office expenses. This can be as basic as replacing incandescent lights with LED fixtures and installing programmable thermostats, to retrofitting entire HVAC systems and replacing old windows with triple-pane models, depending on your budget.
Efficient Use of Space
Pre-COVID, your office grew and expanded slowly over time and you may not have always made the most efficient use of space. Renovating can undo those missteps, and improve efficiency by achieving the right layout for employees to complete their jobs. A qualified contractor will understand how the dynamics of space may affect employee performance, and how the number of workers, the industry you operate in, and the specific tasks that you perform will all have to be examined before the renovation begins.
Embrace Hybrid Work
With the hybrid approach to office life now the norm, a renovation should make sure people in the office and those working from home are on an even footing. That puts an emphasis on renovating conference rooms with interactive whiteboards and the latest videoconferencing technology designed to let remote employees participate more effectively than they could on a Zoom call.
Health & Safety
COVID-19 has highlighted the need for a stronger focus on overall health in commercial buildings. Pre-COVID, office design was focused on maximizing available space. However, this mindset correlated to cramming as many desks as possible into a single room. With the hybrid office model, fewer desks are needed, allowing for greater social distancing and fewer chances of spreading germs and viruses. Salesforce, for example, reduced its desk space by 40% and embraced a floor plan that features more team-focused spaces. Another trend: minimizing touch-points by integrating smart technology options such as keyless entry points, automatic doors and smart lighting. Where touch is unavoidable, select finishes that are easy to sanitize and antimicrobial.
While remote working is likely to become more commonplace in the years to come, most people will soon be returning to their workplaces at least part-time, and readjusting to the rhythms of office life. Make sure your office is in tune with them.