6 Areas to Upgrade When You Return to Your Office
The coronavirus pandemic created a one-of-a-kind occupancy gap in many traditional workspaces. For many employees, the better part of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 were spent working from home. Meanwhile, corporate workspaces gathered dust.
Now that the initial stages of the pandemic have passed, offices are being reopened. As many teams begin to recongregate in their collective workspaces again, it can create an ideal opportunity. Here are several aspects of your office that you can improve as you resurrect your old work environment and begin operating from it once more.
1. Overhaul the Internet
A year spent working from home helped to demonstrate just how critical the internet is for the modern professional. Not only that, but many companies are maintaining the cloud-based systems that they migrated to during the pandemic.
In other words, even if you’re a few feet away from a team member, you still need a strong internet connection to collaborate. The return to the office can be an opportune time to overhaul your old internet setup.
It’s best to do this by starting at the beginning. Review your business’s ISP (internet service provider) contract and see if it’s still the best option for your organization. From there, consider your modem and router. Can you upgrade to a new Wi-Fi system? Or can you shift to an adaptive Wi-Fi solution like Plume Workpass?
Overhauling your internet is the best way to keep your organization running like a well-oiled machine — whether everyone is working at home, in the office, or in a hybrid setup.
2. Destress by Decluttering
If you left your office a mess, your return is a great time to fix that issue. This isn’t just referring to cleaning dirt or wiping up grime, either. The actual clutter in your workspace can be a factor that deflates your productivity.
Use this fresh opportunity to declutter your workspace. This can help you tap into a number of benefits that come from operating in a tidy environment, such as:
- Reducing anxiety, stress, tension, and depression;
- Improving confidence and self-efficacy;
- Raising energy, focus, and creativity levels.
Once you’ve decluttered your office, set up a company cleaning schedule. Find creative ways to remind your fellow professionals to keep your workspace clean and clear of unnecessary messes far into the future.
3. Refigure the Floor Plan and Upgrade the Ergonomics
It’s also worthwhile to give the physical nature of your workspace a once-over. When you spend every day in the same area, it’s easy to ignore or get used to things like back-breaking chairs, uncomfortable desks, crowded walkways, and trip hazards.
As you return to the office after an extended time away, look for the small yet mighty upgrades that can improve the physical condition of your workspace. This should start with a workplace risk assessment that considers, among other things, physical and ergonomic hazards.
For instance, review your floor plan. Is it easy to trip or bump a hip on a desk? Can you rearrange the space for less congestion and better traffic flow?
Likewise, consider the state of your desk and chairs. Are they structured with ergonomics in mind? Are they old and in need of repairs or replacements? Don’t let these minor elements slip off of the radar again, or they’ll go unaddressed for an indefinite amount of time.
4. Address the Air Quality
The average person spends 90,000 hours of their life working. With so much time spent in your workplace, it’s important to consider the health hazards that it presents.
One of the biggest of these is the air quality. Poor air quality can stem from a number of different culprits. This can span the gamut from mold and mildew to poor ventilation, chemical cleaning products, and even synthetic fragrances from air fresheners.
If your office has air quality concerns, it’s important to take steps to address the issue. Often this can be something as simple as opening a window, but you’ll want to confirm that it’s okay with your coworkers.
If you find that concern like allergies prevents opening a window, consider investing in an air purifier. In addition, if you’re aware of an area that is actively adding to the poor air issue, like mold or cleaning products, take steps to address those areas, as well.
5. Improve the Lighting
Lighting is another factor that can impact things like work performance and mental health. As you return to the office, assess if everyone has a proper level of light to illuminate their workspaces.
If this is a problem, there are several ways that you can try to ameliorate the issue, such as:
- Replacing fluorescent lighting with a less harsh alternative;
- Adding floor or desk lamps in dim areas or to balance out rooms;
- Maximizing natural light whenever possible.
Along with adding good light, also look for ways to reduce screen time and dim overly bright screens. On top of that, consider replacing old light bulbs with energy-efficient alternatives.
From healthy levels of lighting to less screen time to sustainability, there are many areas to address when it comes to improving your office’s lighting.
6. Bolster the Break Room
While less of a concern than many other factors on this list, your break room is also worthy of consideration. After a year spent in the comfort of your home, you’re going to want a space where you can take breaks and disconnect.
If you find that your break room lacked vision or reasonable amenities in the past, now is the perfect time to fix the situation. Consider what food options should be available. Upgrade coffee machines — or even replace them with a Third Wave brewing setup. Make sure the space is also equipped with comfortable seating that helps encourage rest and relaxation.
From revamped Wi-Fi to ergonomic chairs to improved illumination, there are many aspects of the office to consider. As you return to your workspace, look for the areas where your office is lacking. Then take steps to address these issues now, before they sink into the background and are left quietly sapping your strength throughout each day.
This article has been published in accordance with Socialnomics’ disclosure policy.