According to a study by Fierce, 86% of employees cite a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. Have you personally experienced a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication while working from home? You’re not alone. Many individuals are struggling to fill the void of collaboration and communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaboration fuels fast-paced innovation, increases efficiency, improves team relationships and enhances workflow. 

Some of technology’s most prominent players have started to solidify their timelines for returning to the workplace, a place that fuels collaboration. Facebook will reopen offices in July but allow employees to continue working from home for the remainder of the year. Google will begin opening its offices in various cities starting July 6 but allow its employees the flexibility and choice in how they will work. Apple has reportedly asked some employees to return to work in early June to resume regular work on critical and confidential projects. 

Returning to work in an era of COVID-19 requires us to reimagine the workplace. We’re navigating the future of workplace integration now and post-coronavirus. Here’s how we think it will look.

Now — The Immediate Changes
The first wave of employees returning to the workforce will necessitate a retrofitting of the workplace based on guidelines laid out by current health organizations. Office integration could include: 

  • Employees will step in front of a thermal-detection camera to determine their body temperature and if it’s safe for them to enter the office (by the way, we shared a story on our favorite thermal-detection cameras, which you can read here).
  • Eliminating face-to-face interaction can be accomplished by rotating desk orientation by 90 degrees and using screens or temporary walls to separate individuals who sit side by side. 
  • Digital signage solutions will guide employees through the office by indicating safe routes to reception areas, workstations, collaboration spaces and ancillary spaces.
  • Storage spaces will allow individuals to keep their personal items in a locker while limiting the number of items on their desks. This can enable safer sanitation throughout the entire space. 

In the Future — The Reinvention
As everyone returns to the office, companies will begin reconfiguring the workplace to offer long-term solutions for enhanced safety. The new environments will require reinvention based on science and emerging technologies. Some of these reinventions could include:

  • Office space will be determined based on the number of employees per square foot to provide adequate space for social distancing. Furniture arrangement and the placement of technology as barriers of separations will be prominent factors in the architectural design of corporate spaces. 
  • Conference rooms will be fitted with technologies like Crestron Scheduling Panels to limit the number of individuals in a room and allocate time for sanitation in between meetings. Employees will be able to schedule meetings, then share them with colleagues, through touchless technology or on their own devices rather than on shared devices.
  • Touchless, voice-activated technology will be deployed to control lighting, audio and video equipment. BYOD (bring your own device) environments can simplify presentations, while individuals can also avoid using the same device that has been touched by others. 
  • Stand-up meetings — regular meetings where employees are encouraged to actually stand — will enable short, to-the-point discussions while encouraging collaboration and participation. Studies show that stand-up meetings eliminate many distractions, release endorphins and increase energy levels and improve posture.

The health and safety of employees should remain the top priority for companies transitioning to the office. While we can expect more flexibility in the way we do our jobs, companies want to bring employees back to the workplace because organizations understand the need for people to come together. 

If you’re looking for support navigating technology for the future of the workplace, AV Planners has proven success in designing and integrating corporate office spaces that enable safe collaboration. Contact AV Planners via email at info@avplanners.com, or call us at 213-493-6473 to learn more about our services. Keep up with the latest news from AV Planners on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram