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6 Office Space Buildout Tips for Returning to the Office

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

With the COVID-19 pandemic finally under control, it’s time for workers across the country to start returning to the office. For many professionals who spent the last year working from home, this may feel like a difficult transition due to safety concerns. In light of health regulations, worker needs, and improvements in technology, now is the perfect time to buildout your office space so you can start 2022 with new and improved facilities.

Here are our top tips for building out your office space to create a cohesive and user-friendly environment in a post-pandemic world.

#1 Increase Common Spaces

Consider renovating common spaces, lounges, and meeting areas to accommodate employee needs. These areas provide valuable opportunities for employees to discuss ideas, brainstorm, and connect with one another. The casual environment of common spaces is part of their appeal, since they lack the formality of conference rooms and are therefore more accessible for quick check-ins and chats.

Start by increasing the amount of space dedicated to common areas. Make sure you take into consideration social-distancing guidelines when designing the space while maintaining a community-oriented atmosphere. Space seating at least six feet apart and provide a variety of options (like armchairs, coffee tables, collaborative worktops etc). This way, employees can utilize the space while still feeling like they are adhering to health and safety guidelines.

#2 Update Conference Rooms

Many offices are adopting a hybrid model for employees returning to work in-person. This means that employees can choose to work at home some of the time and only need to come into the office a few days a week. Since some employees may be at home but still need to participate in meetings, it’s imperative to update your conference room technology.

Modern conference spaces are adopting sophisticated video calling platforms to make video conferences run smoothly even when some participants are tuning in from a remote location. The New York Times mentioned in a recent article that in order to adapt to hybrid conference requirements, “devices combining 360-degree cameras, microphones and speakers are being placed on a table or tripod to improve sound and visibility.” These updates not only improve communication between employees, but they encourage a sense of community even when some people are remote.

#3 Add ‘Hot’ Desks

Instead of continuing to house permanent desks for all employees, office spaces are being outfitted with “hoteling” stations or “hot desks.” The NYT describes these “hoteling workstations” as temporary work areas which “can be used by whoever needs a place to touch down for a day.” Since workers are still working from home part-time, it’s less necessary to provide individual workplaces for every employee. Hot desks allow workers to utilize office space in a flexible format. Plus, businesses have the option to downsize leases if they don’t need to provide individualized workspace for all their employees.

#4 Update Public Spaces

Lobbies, elevators and stairways are all high-traffic locations that could benefit from safety updates. Use decals on the floor to indicate proper social distancing, and provide sanitizing stations at entrances and exits.

If you have the resources, you may want to consider implementing more technology to enable a “hands free” workplace. Motion sensing doors, faucets or app-based access to facilities diminishes the use of high-touch areas on a daily basis.

#5 Increase Outdoor Space

We all know that a big part of COVID safety is ensuring there is enough airflow to disperse the virus. To that end, it’s a wise idea to increase the amount of outdoor space dedicated to employee use. Improve outdoor meeting spaces by adding seating, work surfaces, and shade structures. Additionally, you can encourage frequent use by updating aesthetic elements like landscaping and by adding small conveniences like outdoor charging ports.

#6 Install Ventilation Systems

Instead of relying on cracked windows and fans to move air through the office, consider installing a more sophisticated air ventilation and purification system. Circulating air from the outside into the office minimizes the risk of COVID-19 exposure and ensures that your employees are working in a safe environment. You can also install purification filters to decrease allergens and facilitate clean, healthy airflow.

Create Your Space with Buildout Pros

At Buildout Pros, we provide construction, renovation, and design services in a customer-focused format. From healthcare facilities to office spaces and hospitality locations, we work with clients from a wide variety of professional industries. We are committed to providing end-to-end contracting services and transparent communication every step of the way.

Looking to upgrade your return to the office? Contact Buildout Pros today to start your consultation.

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