Office Design and Work Culture – A Sceptical Approach to Understand the New Norms of the Turbulent Time

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COVID-19 has changed the entire world around us, and office design trends are no exception. Even our conventional work culture has also taken a radical turn in the process of substituting traditional working methods with remote and hybrid working. This change was not just a temporary shift, rather some enduring adjustments which even took place in office culture and workspace designs. With the rise of new normal practices like work from home, the importance of physical presence at the office appears as a common debatable topic. While some people enjoyed remote working, others opined that it could not be a viable work model.The significance of physical presence at the office is subject to argument, but the impact of COVID-19 on office design and work culture is coherent. This post aims to highlight the new norms that we can witness in office design and work culture during the pandemic.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Office Design Trends

Here are the few trends that you can frequently observe in the new office designs that take place in the turbulent time period:

  • Most office designers now focus on placing desks by maintaining an adequate gap to encourage social distancing. Altering desks have become another common practice to have employees face away from each other.
  • The increment of desk pods in office layout is quite visible now. Office desk pods can be categorised in the section between private booths and office desks. Pods are ideal for maintaining privacy without losing an eye from the team. It will allow you to focus on your work and keep collaborating with others simultaneously. Desk pods allow up to 3 to 5 people to collaborate without violating social distancing norms. Plastic shields were considered once to maintain a sanitised environment, but this material is not eco-friendly and can also be detrimental to teamwork. Desk pods, on the other hand, work excellently in ensuring safety and collaboration.
  • Designing smaller conference rooms have become another office design trend. It encourages small groups of 3 to 5 people to make the most out of the room instead of discussing things in a small cubicle.
  • Designing outdoor offices is also on the rise. Let’s understand how COVID-19 has triggered this trend. Medical studies show that open-air activities with ample ventilation reduce the risk of COVID-19, especially when compared to engaging in indoor activities. Therefore, companies that can set up outdoor workplaces are embracing the opportunity.   

The Effect of COVID-19 on Work Culture

The pandemic had tremendous impacts on workplace culture. Here are a few of them:

  • A recent study showed that 48% of employees would prefer remote working from home during the pandemic. The massive shift to more and more remote operations is the most significant change in work culture due to COVID-19. 
  • The uses of technology in the workplace have increased massively. Virtual meetings, online collaborations, contactless payments are the new normals. Besides, employers are also using technology to monitor work computer usage, internal communications, emails, track employee engagement, efficiency, and wellbeing. The influence of technology at work is not new, but its massive utilisation to conduct day-to-day operations is indeed a new work culture shaped by COVID-19.
  • Gartner analysis has found that 32% of organisations have substituted the majority of their full-time workers with a contingent workforce. Contingent worker expansion to reduce operational cost is another rising work culture commonly noticed in this turbulent time. 

Importance of Premium Office Furniture Is Still Constant

COVID-19 has literality changed office culture and design trends in several ways, but one thing is still constant – the importance of investing in premium office furniture. High-quality furniture will improve employee productivity and their well-being. These are the two most crucial things you need in the workplace to excel in your business. 

You can buy premium office furniture from Al Reyami Office Furnishings & Gen. Trading. We are a trusted furniture showroom offering luxury furniture from flagship brands like:

  • Archiutti
  • Sinetica
  • Sitland
  • Okamura
  • Rockworth
  • Office & Co
  • Sesta
  • Doimo

Visit our Dubai showroom today to experience and explore our full range of premium office furniture. Let us help you choose furniture that meets the modern office design needs.