As cities and states relax COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, businesses are looking at how to downsize and reshape their commercial office space post- pandemic. With many companies finding that remote work practices were well suited to their business model, and with the need to maintain distance between remaining on-site workers, they must now determine what to do with their office space so that they can operate safely and efficiently.
Though this disruption to office life was not planned, making smart office space decisions now can keep your business strong through uncertain times and beyond.
Apply Lean Principles to Your Commercial Office Space
Businesses that had to close physical locations and reduce costs during the pandemic may now have a clearer picture of how efficiently they have historically used office space and resources. For instance, a reduction in utility and office amenity costs may highlight that your company could operate better with a smaller physical space and more remote staff.
You can apply these same lean principles to how much commercial office space is necessary for your company to conduct business. Determine whether there are tasks that cannot be conducted remotely, and evaluate the amount of space it takes to do them with appropriate social distance measures. If you downsize and redesign your commercial offices to fit your current organizational needs, that flexibility can allow your staff to refocus on your company’s mission and future.
Reboot the Design of Your Current Space
Even if you keep your square footage, you can take the same thoughtful approach to redevelop your offices. Employees will likely return with heightened concerns and awareness of how COVID-19 spreads in close environments. While the communal tables, comfy couches, and hot desks in open layouts were fun, they won’t be viable when social distancing is required.
Companies have looked to new design concepts like color-coded flooring or structural barriers that will help to promote appropriate distancing through architecture. Some businesses have adopted layouts from health care settings to create spaces that reduce contact and germ spread. With the embrace of virtual meetings, offices may build in reimagined phone booths or other pod-type structures to use as video-friendly workstations instead of desks.
Start Over in a New Space
Our world has shifted dramatically in less than six months. You will likely have to adapt your offices no matter what the next quarter brings, and you may want to consider whether your current space is truly matched to your organizational values. If there is a gap between the types of interactions that are possible at your location and those that your company needs to thrive, it may be time to move your offices to a new space.
While commercial offices in dense city centers once made the most sense, downtown locations are becoming less of a draw post-COVID. Plus, with more staff telecommuting, you are able to not only reduce your office footprint but also find a location off the beaten path. If you are building your Austin commercial office from the ground up, you can incorporate details that optimize the use of space. Whether it’s outdoor meeting spaces, smart building technology, or energy-efficient systems, downsizing your office may actually feel like an upgrade.
At Paradisa, we’ve continued to find ways to support our Austin commercial building staff, clients, and community to deal with these unprecedented times. Whether you’re looking to begin a new commercial property search or evaluating how to adapt your current space after COVID-19, we are here to help you accomplish your building goals. Contact us today to learn more about what makes us a full-service Austin commercial construction company.