Many employers are facing the return to the office dilemma. After some businesses having downsized their office space during the Covid-19 pandemic, many are now seeing their employees wanting to return to the workplace, with some being driven back due to the cost-of-living crisis.
According to the British Council for Offices (BCO) Guide to Specification June 2022, employees should have 10 sq.m per work setting, this sees a 2sq.m increase for high-density offices where the previous criterion was 8 sq.m. This change in criterion will, according to BCO, alleviate most workspace issues and concerns, with the extra elbow room and comfort will increase productivity.
So, what can employers do to accommodate potentially overcrowded workspaces? How can you get creative and better maximise the space you have?
Space Saving Furniture
From adjustable height desks, partitions, privacy screens, and collaborative spaces – having a variety of furniture that can double up, move easily, and create a variety of workspace set-ups provide great options for any small office. From productivity and stability to comfort and versatility, getting rid of bulky, heavy furniture that makes the room feel crammed is an easy way to reclaim a bit of extra room.
Full Use of Break Out Areas
Having a separate space to take a break, enjoy a coffee, and eat lunch is important if your office is slightly on the small side. Employees hate nothing more than feeling glued to the same cubic meter of space for their entire eight or so hours at work. If there are spaces like empty meeting rooms, consider freeing these up during certain times of the day for staff to take a break with a change of scenery.
In cramped offices, it can be a real distraction for those busy working to have to listen in on every meeting. If a separate meeting room isn’t available for your meetings, consider holding stand-up meetings in the foyer, outside on nice weather days, or in a quieter corner of your workspace. The idea of standing is to keep these meetings brief, that means less waffling and less time distracting others that need to crack on.
Using Local Coffee Shops
Also, a great way to support the local economy – if your office space is falling short consider moving a couple of meetings, planning or brainstorming sessions each week in a local café. With many cafes now well set up as co-working spaces, finding plug sockets for laptops, cosy nooks or larger sharing tables has never been easier.
Make Use of Office Wall Space
Maximising the space on the four walls that surround you is an effective way to increase your office space. Using wall storage can easily free up space on your desks and floors simply by using wall hooks, cupboards, and shelves to store items. Cork or magnetic boards are another great way of keeping paperwork neatly organised and off the desk, and mirrors on the walls can also give the impression of more space.
For more information on how you could improve your HR and workplace policies – get in touch with hr inspire – Hertfordshire’s leading HR consultancy that can bring your business the benefits, protection, and experience of an entire HR department.