The workplace post COVID-19: Adapt your workplace to the 1.5 meters economy now.

The workplace, is by nature, a place where people gather. With Covid-19 among us, the workplace suddenly represents a huge risk of setting off another wave of infections if not managed carefully. Instead of being a risk area, how can we use the workplace as an important arena for epidemic prevention? How do you ensure your employees can get back to work safely?

The workplace post COVID-19: Adapt your workplace to the 1.5 meters economy now

Our Workplaces

Coming out of lockdown is likely to be a gradual process, heavily restricted by a number of measures. What kind of workplace can we go back to? What would it take to make going back to the office work? How do we adapt our workplaces to the 1.5 meters economy?

Our Employees

What about the social, psychological and emotional dimensions of employees’ well-being? Will the physical measures taken to keep us physically healthy, harm our mental health and emotional wellbeing? Will we gain new reflexes every time a human being gets close? Will we see every person around us as a threat?

Our Future of work

To be able to function while Covid-19 is still not eradicated means that our workplaces need to be fundamentally different. And since this is a matter of years, not months, it is well worth it to approach adapting your workplace as seriously as it would have been to design it in the first place.

Adapting the workplace to the 1.5 meters economy is not simple.

Adapting the workplace to the 1.5 meters economy is not simply about creating more space in between people. Arriving into the office is sounding more like an emergency drill than the pleasant social encounter it used to be. Most companies will have to implement an arrival routine that will include checking people’s temperatures, equipping them with gloves, masks and strict instructions. It is safe to say that nothing will be the same as before. Until vaccines are developed or until herd immunity is established, returning to normal will not be an option. So, what might our new normal be?

Physical measures are not enough.

While all of these may be necessary measures, they are all physical measures. What about the social, psychological and emotional dimensions of employees’ well-being? Will the paranoia that is reigning in the supermarkets now accompany us to the workplace? Will we be torn between the joy of reuniting with a friend at work and the paranoia of wondering if he/she will be the one to get us ill? While necessary, these measures may have serious implications on employee’s engagement and well-being. And while we do not have all, or maybe any of the answers, it is essential that we start asking the right questions. In order to ask the right questions, there is only one proven approach you can rely on: engage your employees in a participatory process.

Akka Architects Blog_new workplace

Start now to think about how your workplace needs to be adapted to the 1.5 meters economy, and remember to find a way to engage your people in this process.

— Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes

Upgrade your workplace & protect your employees

Select the solution that suits you best and start now to adapt your workplace to the 1.5 meters economy.

Before Covid-19, most of us used to work in the office (mostly). When Covid-19 hit, we saw an exodus from the office to our homes. After the initial shock, there are three stages of recovery that we can observe.

1

Recovery Stage One

Our homes need to be redefined. Now that we have to work, live, sleep, educate our children and relax all in the same place, our homes have acquired a new meaning and our relationship to our homes is being redefined. This is happening whether we like it or not. It would be much better if we redefined our homes intentionally. Read this three-part article for specific advice regarding how to redefine your home and help your employees do the same.

2

Recovery Stage Two

Soon (we hope), we will be allowed to go back to work. However, nothing will be the same as before. First of all, going back to work will not mean not working from home anymore, we will need to embrace both. Second, going back to work will not mean we are going back to the same office we left. The office will need to be redesigned to adapt to the new restrictions and guidelines of the 1.5 meters economy, so employees can go back to work safely. Read this article about how to adapt your workplace to the 1.5 meters economy and why it is crucial to do so now, with no further delay.

3

Recovery Stage Three

At AKKA, we predict that after stages 1 and 2, and once the travel restrictions have loosened a little bit, some people will get tired of having to work from home on the days they are not part of the “50% of the workforce that is allowed in the office”. They will start searching for a 3rd place to work from. Whether that is a cafe, a library or a coworking space, none of them will be as we have known them. All of these locations will have to be redefined and redesigned.

Adapt your workplace now

Now that your employees are still working from home is in fact the ideal time to start thinking about how do you adapt your workplace to the 1.5 meters economy. Just like we have seen with governments, a ‘wait and see’ approach never helps. So instead of finding yourself late and in reaction mode once people are allowed back to the office, start now to think about how your workplace needs to be adapted to the 1.5m economy, and remember to find a way to engage your people in this process.

Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes Speaker

From the desk of Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes

Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes is a Workplace Interactions Expert. As an architect, a speaker, an author and a workplace transformation expert, she has mastered the art and science of using Interactions as a Strategic tool to achieve any business goal in any organisation.

Re: How Covid-19 is transforming our offices and our companies, and where do we go from here?

Dear Workplace Professional,

We have all heard it, we are in a crisis. What you may not have heard is that the root of the word ‘crisis’ actually means decision point. Isn’t that a much more empowering way to look at the situation we are in? When it comes to our workplaces, what decision(s) do we need to take now in order to create a future of work that is healthy, compelling and successful?

If you are an HR manager, a Facility Manager, a Corporate Real Estate Manager or any form of Workplace Professional, your decision is simple. You need to ensure your employees can be safe at work, meaning physically and emotionally healthy.

We are at a turning point, a decision point. There can be no return to normal. In fact, in Hong Kong, graffiti reads: “There can be no return to normal because normal was the problem in the first place”. Over the decades, we have seen the workplace evolve through the four questions of utility, productivity, engagement and experience. The shock of this crisis has thrown us back into the basic question of utility, with an extra emphasis on safety. From this point onwards, my personal hope is that we don’t go back to the old normal. I do not think that we should go through the evolution of the four questions again either. My personal hope is that instead, we leapfrog into a higher question of meaning: “How do we reshape our world of work to serve a higher purpose?”.

Will the coronavirus change the way we work, long after the virus is history? Will we abandon the workplace, with much more permanently working from home? Or will we return to all our past practices once this grim episode is over? In fact, if you think about it, the worst thing that can happen is that we indeed return to all our past habits and practices, as if nothing happened. That would be a total waste of an incredible opportunity to learn from our failures and the weaknesses of our systems. This is an opportunity to learn from the present, in order to design a future, that is fundamentally better than our past. As Winston Churchill said, “Never waste a good crisis”.

Select your solution

Executive Consulting
1 session
Now for only €447.97

Are you facing a specific challenge while you welcome your workforce back to the office?

Is there any question you need help with?

Are you looking for a second opinion or simply little bit of guidance?

  • You submit your question
  • We review and analyse your question
  • We hold a 90 minute advisory consultancy session with you and your team
  • We submit an evaluation and guidance report

Before you make a choice, we understand that you may have some questions. This is why we are now offering FREE, NON-COMMITTAL intake conversations, where we can answer any and all your questions before you decide which solution is best for you.

Corporate Coaching
3 sessions
Now for only €947.97

Are you already in the process of adapting your workplace to 1.5 meters economy?

Do you have the resources to do it in-house and you would still like some guidance?

In this coaching process, we help you reflect on what you need to do, answer any challenges you may have and accompany you through the process of re-designing your office to 1.5 meters economy.

  • Intake briefing meeting
  • Session 1: Understanding the challenges and advising regarding points of action
  • Session 2: Analysing the results of the actions taken since session 1, adapting and advising regarding new points of action
  • Session 3: Analysing the results of the actions taken since session 2, adapting and advising regarding new points of action
  • We submit an evaluation and guidance report

Before you make a choice, we understand that you may have some questions. This is why we are now offering FREE, NON-COMMITTAL intake conversations, where we can answer any and all your questions before you decide which solution is best for you.

Full Design Scope
Timeline depends on project complexity
Investment upon request

Are you looking for help with the full scope of adapting your workplace to 1.5 meters economy?

We can help you with the full design and implementation process as well as the change management process to ensure your employees are on board and the return to the office is a success.

  • Understanding your needs and creating alignment among the different stakeholders
  • Creating a vision for your workplace during and after COVID-19
  • Implementation, execution and supervision of construction
  • Evaluation of real time feedback and further adaptation of your workplace
  • We submit an evaluation and guidance report

Before you make a choice, we understand that you may have some questions. This is why we are now offering FREE, NON-COMMITTAL intake conversations, where we can answer any and all your questions before you decide which solution is best for you.

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