Offices of the ‘near future’ will take on different configurations and design. The one constant, however, will be the need to factor in social distancing.

Design

As a return to the workplace is now looking more realistic, we would like to remind you of how we can support the transition out of lockdown.

An increase in the use of agile working, additional partitioning and nightly cleans are measures being discussed when contemplating a full return to the offices as the lockdown eases.

Whatever the extent of the measures required, an ‘off the shelf’ solution is unlikely to have the right tools included to get a refurbishment project completed without significant issues such as overruns, delays, increased costs and business interruption.

As independent project managers, Rapport Solutions support and deliver office fit-out projects.

Our management service, from preparing concept designs and layouts to selecting suitable contractors through an open book tender process, ensures that all project costs are controlled and programme time frames are achieved.

Here are our  top tips to ensure your team’s transition back into the office is a smooth one.

Connecting with your team

The pandemic has affected us all in different ways, and it is only normal for staff to feel uncertain about what their future holds.

Stay in touch regularly with your team; a quick check-in will help team members feel connected and valued, especially after a long period of remote working.

Plan and prepare

Inform your team of the provisions that have been made to create a safe work environment moving forward.

To ensure the transition back into the office is smooth and that all staff can carry out their duties comfortably and safely, ask the following.

  • How will they get to work?
  • Do they require additional support?
  • Are they comfortable with the safety measures in place? If not, what would make them feel more at ease?

Set realistic expectations

How we all work is likely to keep changing in the coming weeks, so you will need to prepare staff to adapt quickly moving forward. Make sure you are honest and transparent with your team, although there is no light at the end of the tunnel, we still have the journey ahead to make together.

Deal with demotivation

  • While many people can’t wait to get back into the office, others will have found they prefer working from home.
  • If you can, try and be flexible with working hours for the first week or two or longer term so that staff can get used to getting back into a routine.
  • Encourage them to schedule their week and sketch out important to-dos that will help provide structure and make them feel like they have achieved something.
  • Remind them to keep their expectations realistic, or they may end up putting too much pressure on themselves.

In a period of change, it’s important to reassure employees that although the typical workplace as we know it may be different, this provides us all with an opportunity to analyse how we do things, and in turn, do them better.

We have delivered to a wide range of clients across London and the Home Counties including:

Ancestry UK, Mast-Jägermeister, UK Broadband, Octo Telematics, nDreams, Fish Financial and several Housing Associations.

We work with you to create innovative environments that enable inspiring and collaborative workspace.

Call or email us if you would like to discuss your future requirements and ideas further.

01252 712590

info@rapport-solutions.org.uk

You can view our recent projects here.

The number of employees demanding flexible working continues to rise. And with over 39.3 million adults have access to the internet every day, making it even more straightforward to work remotely. So how can businesses adapt?

Paul Statham, founder and CEO of Condeco, said: “UK households now enjoy almost universal access to the internet, which has grown exponentially from 2006 when only 57% of homes were connected.

Office chairs “The impact on our personal lives is obvious, but it has also transformed the way we work. Thanks to cloud-based collaboration and services such as email and video conferencing, a laptop and internet connection is all that most people need to perform their job. Ninety-six per cent of UK knowledge workers that have been given a chance to work from home has taken up the opportunity, and 94% would work from home twice a week if they could.”

Work wellbeing also comes into play as we move away from the traditional offices and become more fluid and flexible in our working approach. 

Space planning and a design and workspace analysis identify the need for space in transformational businesses. It is an area our project managers work hard to analyse during space planning sessions with HR and Facilities teams. By engaging teams throughout, we bridge the gap between research and practice to develop creative design solutions that suit your team as well as your business.

Come and speak to us today about your office move and re-fit project. We would be delighted to offer you our expertise during an informal chat.

standing desks Sitting all day can lead to a whole host of health issues. These include backache, sore shoulders, neck strain and even heart diseases.

It’s no secret that a mostly sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain and a shortened life span. So, in the office design and fit-out process, we work closely with HR and Facilities teams to help identify the utilisation and activity of workspaces. We help to rethink existing spaces at the early stages of the office design to produce a workplace that takes into account the work-style needs of teams and individuals. The result? A flexible, healthier and a more modern way of working.

Standing desks are the most obvious way to break out of your normal seated position. However, research has shown that standing all day isn’t much better than sitting all day. Based on the work we’ve carried out, we suggest alternating between a seated and standing position. We also recommend the following ways to stay active in the office below:

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Is your business ready for generation Z? What about your millennial employee needs? Have you considered the needs of those employees who fall into Gen X and Xennials categories?

Generation z

Smart businesses are gearing up to cater for a wide-range of age groups as the retirement age continues to rise and the practicalities of having to, or wanting to work past the retirement age become a reality. In fact, the Office for National Statistics has already revealed that the number of women working past the age of 70 has doubled in the past four years. Whereas, one in seven men continue to work into old age amid growing concerns over the bleak outlook for pensions.

What will this mean in practical terms for organisations? Businesses need to consider the emerging needs of all age groups in the workplace. Although this is a learning curve for everyone, there are huge benefits to working together in harmony. The older gen with their invaluable work experience, and the new gen for their tech and social media expertise.

Whether you’re a business owner, HR or facilities specialist looking to better understand the next wave of employees, here are 6 simple ways you can effectively prepare your office space that caters to all.

  1. Spaces to share and care

A great way to engage and connect the younger and older generations within a workplace is to provide a variety of open-plan spaces that encourage and inspire open-dialogue, conversation and bonding.

Spaces that are creative and colourful are perfect for workshops, regular get-togethers and brainstorming. While the more tonal and neutrally designed areas offer a calmer space for teams or individuals who need time to concentrate or reflect.  These break-out areas are also perfect for less formal HR catch-ups or personal reviews.

  1. Eliminate Distractions

Gen z and millennials know how to switch between screens and social media applications. However, depending on the task at hand, and the different ways we all like to work, many employees benefit from quiet areas for various tasks. Like the different open-plan areas in your workspace offering in point 1, stand-alone rooms, sound-proof pods or meeting rooms for specific tasks can accommodate those looking for quiet time or space away from an open-plan office. These factors also play an essential part in the environmental wellbeing of staff. 

  1. Effective Technology

With great tech, comes great power, and it’s now more possible than ever to reduce the number of internal and external meetings. While virtual meetings and check-in-calls work better for employees with families, or for those organisations with flexible working initiatives, it is also important that when face-to-face meetings do take place, that technology is reliable. The time during the working day is precious, as is great communication, so utilising space efficiently in meeting and boardrooms by installing effective and reliable technology, can help to ensure clients and employees are working efficiently.

  1. Agile furniture

As departments change and grow, ensuring your furniture and spaces are agile is crucial. It can also help your business save money in the long-term.

Making sure your seating is tested by your staff and is adjustable, for example, is vital to different heights, body types and other generational needs. Offering a combination of seated and standing desks will also aid wellbeing in the office, by taking the pressure off staff sitting all day.

Equally, agile non-permanent and architectural partition screens and office pods extend and complement most office landscapes without the long-term commitment. These solutions work by dividing open spaces or create closed and partially closed rooms dependant on your need.

  1. Workspace Incentives

Ping-pong tables and beer fridges are a great way to offer employee perks in the office, but all generations benefit from taking care of their wellbeing in the office environment. You may not be able to provide sleep pods like Google, but spaces within the office for yoga, monthly massages and other wellbeing incentives, offer long-term practical benefits to the body and mind.

  1. Keep employees involved in the office design & workspace process

Most businesses go through expansion, or a downsize depending on the industry and market. Varying factors which can have an effect on an office location and the need for space. Ensuring your office space is flexible and including employees in the design process during these changes can be invaluable and can help staff feel part of the overall culture and change management process.

  • At the beginning of an office relocation project, offer surveys to your employees to find out what’s important to them in a move or relocation.
  • If you’re redesigning your current space, or just want to understand how hard your space currently works for employees, then carry out a simple survey to find out what’s working and what isn’t. This will help to design areas more effectively.

Rapport can help in the process with our specialist employee workshops and space planning mythology. Just get in touch to find out more.
01252 712590 – info@rapport-solutions.org.uk.

The Fitwel Certification System, initially piloted in the USA by the USA’s General Services Administration (GSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just launched its healthier buildings initiative into the UK.

Joanna Frank, Executive Director of the New York-based Center for Active Design, explains:

“Fitwel provides 63 cost-effective design and operational strategies for enhancing building environments to improve occupant health and productivity.”

Scientifically based, each strategy links to one of the seven health impact categories including well-being, what reduces morbidity and absenteeism and what promotes occupant safety, helping organisations understand what benefits they can incorporate that improve their employees’ workplace experience and the workplace environment.

The certification tool contains 3,000 footnoted ‘peer-reviewed’ studies backing up what it recommends and is a considerable addition to the Time and Workspace Analysis we carry out for businesses when they are considering a relocation or the re-fit of a workspace.

If you are in the process of planning an office relocation project or refurbishment programme and would like further advice, contact us on 01252 712590 or email us at info@rapport-solutions.org.uk.