The issue of COVID in the US is slowly but surely declining as more and more of us get access to vaccinations. It finally feels like we can breathe just a little bit easier and like the end of this nightmare is in sight. However, the shift back to “normal life” creates a new challenge for HR managers and business owners. As we work to find normalcy again, businesses must decide on post-COVID office policies, floor plans, and more. Some organizations are diving head-first and continuing operations like normal, some are implementing a hybrid set-up, and some may not plan on returning to in-person work at all! With that being said, here’s how GoCo and some other companies are planning on tackling their return to the office and its redesign.
A look at our plans for the GoCo office:
We’ve decided to take more of a hybrid approach in our return to in-person work. Rather than making office attendance mandatory, we’re using our office as a space to facilitate productivity on the terms of the employee. We’re moving away from the structure of assigned desks and workspaces and more towards set-up of:
Since not everyone will be in the office everyday, having assigned desks just doesn’t make sense anymore. Also, our current meeting room is in the middle of the office, serving as a divider between the work and play areas. This will no longer be the case. Of course, our redesign is still a work in progress, but the goal is for our office to just be a place to hang out while getting work done. As our very own Administrative Assistant, Ky Nguyen, puts it, our theme is “Good Vibes Only!” Furthermore, our People Operations Manager, Liz Orea, is taking inspiration from a college library to really harness the “we-work” environment.
We’re trying to make this transition as effective as possible while simultaneously being mindful of our budget, so we’re working with our existing furniture as much as possible and rearranging it! However, we absolutely adore Ikea, so we went there to find our coffee tables, couches, boards, shelves, cube shelves, bookshelves, and display cases!
Some insights from the community:
Eden Cheng, Marketing Director and Founder at WeInvoice
The WeInvoice office is taking social distancing extremely seriously, so they’re taking a number of measures to ensure a safe return to work. These include:
Marina Vaamonde, Founder and Commercial Real Estate Investor at Property Cashin
Marina’s organization is also installing dividers in their space. However, unlike the plexiglass barriers, they are opting for a more economic route. Property Cashin plans on utilizing standard plastic wrap dividers in heavily occupied spaces. She suggests building frames of plastic or wood to attach the plastic wrap if your ceilings are too high or if there are no walls nearby to leverage.
Stephen Light, Co-Owner and Chief Marketing Officer at Nolah Mattress
Nolah Mattress is putting a COVID-spin on your typical cubicle set up. In an attempt to facilitate communication and interaction while simultaneously minimizing viral transmission, this organization is implementing individual box-type offices with transparent barriers. The basic, opaque separators make the space seem more crowded and block access to other people. A clear barrier is an effective and easy solution to the challenge of safe collaboration in the office.
Olivia Tran, Co-Founder at CocoFax
In their approach to tackling the return to in-person work, CocoFax is emphasizing the importance of air quality and proper ventilation in their office. Here’s how they plan on going about this:
Gabriel Duncan, CEO and Founder at ViscoSoft
ViscoSoft’s office is located in North Carolina, where they enjoy decent weather for practically the whole year. Let’s take a look at how they’re taking advantage of that:
Anthony Martin, CEO and Founder of Choice Mutual
This pitch is less about the office and more about the individual. Choice Mutual plans on starting a system of “traffic light wristbands.” The objective is to set certain colors in correspondence with varying comfort levels with physical contact. As Anthony describes it, “ Green would indicate that the person can be approached as normal. Orange would indicate that you should exercise caution and only engage in contact when necessary. Red, however, would send a message that you don’t wish to be approached at all under any circumstances.” This system is a great way to be mindful of peers while remaining sensitive to each individual’s situation with COVID. We never know who may be immunocompromised or live with immunocompromised family members. Anthony’s traffic light system helps clearly establish boundaries while avoiding any potential conflict.
John Ross, President and CEO at Test Prep Insight
John and his team have an optimistic outlook on shifting their office around to fit COVID guidelines. It’s almost like a slight renovation:
Mickael Robinson, Security Expert at Cheap SSL Security
In addition to the obvious COVID precautions, Cheap SSL Security is also paying attention to the office from the employee’s perspective. This entails:
Navigating the return to the office is definitely a daunting task, but we hope that these insights from our team and our community can help alleviate some of that stress. Remember to implement changes that are best suited for your organization’s specific needs and operations, and feel free to take advantage of any of the ideas that we’ve provided here!