The new normal: rethinking our offices
Last year changed the way we think about offices and work completely. If you think you were the one experiencing the biggest changes, think twice!
One of the teams that had to adapt and change the most is the Office Management Team. We talked to them about it: Naomi for the Amsterdam office, Christine representing Atlanta, and Matt, based in Cardiff.
How did the focus of your job change in the last few months?
Naomi: More than ever, we felt very responsible to make people feel safe. Whether it was at the office, where we still wanted to make it possible for people who needed to come, our goal was to be safe while keeping a nice, warm office feeling. We changed the way the canteen works, the way we handle food and we added signage for people to know how to move at the office under the new safety measures.
We also wanted to make sure people were comfortable when working from home. We got desks, chairs, and screens to people's places where they needed them.
Christine: Everything has changed, everyone is looking at work/life balance much differently since we have spent so much work time at home. Taking that into consideration moving forward — it's no longer the regular 9-5 in the office.
Matt: in the last year we implemented things no one had seen at the office before. Sanitization stations are in place in various locations throughout the offices. Desks are separated and we have sign-up sheets to ensure we keep numbers of people onsite low.
We are also constantly cleaning all areas. The focus has changed to safety without a doubt.
Naomi: During the last two years, we had several moments when people were encouraged to come to the office because the risk was lower. They were SO enthusiastic about it! I think it was a moment of realizing how much we missed having people around.
Now we are combining the best of both worlds, so people have the opportunity to combine office and home office.
In Amsterdam, we will be renovating our office to fit the new purpose of having an office where people come to collaborate and to be social, and also for those who feel more productive working there. We want to accommodate our new Hybrid working mode.
Christine: At the moment we are being very conscientious of following CDC guidelines. In the office, masks and gloves are available for anyone who needs/wants them. We trust the decision-making of our employees and the majority (coming into the office) have been vaccinated.
We have had a lot of growth during the pandemic and in Atlanta, we are also taking into consideration what the "new" office will look like.
Matt: We want to provide continued support to everyone, whether they are in the office or at home, we are only an e-mail or Slack message away. We are also deciding what the office should look like, then we can then ensure to adapt and establish the office as a fun, safe environment for focussed work but also meetings and social events alike, whilst also supporting everyone with working from home by better understanding and assisting with their more permanent set up for the future. Meanwhile we will support and come up with ideas to make interesting and engaging social events that cover the new way of working, in a safe and secure way.