As former office-based workers around the world have pivoted to working remotely, key trends are now emerging that highlight the effects of the pandemic on our working lives.
Many people are considering making dramatic changes to their remote workspace and some are using co-working spaces, or even decamping to new and different locations. We at Kings Crest Global have noticed a few interesting trends as a result of this global shift towards remote working, many of which may be useful to you in your own working-from-home journey.
Furnishing and Maintaining Remote Working Spaces
Those who worked remotely before the pandemic have experienced unforeseen challenges caused by the global remote-working shift, necessitating improvements to their workspace. For those who did not work remotely, the pandemic created the need to organize and create a brand-new space where they could carry out their work online.
Lights, Camera, Action!
“I have worked remotely for 5 years,” says Robert Abramo, Head of Sales for Executive Bench at RHR, “and I spend much more time in my home office since my wife began working remotely. We have made changes to our home office, such as adjusting the placement of lamps in the room for video calls.”
Indeed, experts recommend that video callers use multidirectional lighting to avoid shadows and appear at their best. As Robert Abramo found in his home office, often the lighting in a home office is insufficient. He found that not only was his dimly lit home office not ideal for video calls, but that the dim lighting and the blue light from the computer could strain his eyes. He changed his lighting setup for the better, including opening the blinds, and in fact, studies have shown that exposure to natural light during the day has positive effects on mental and physical health. In warm weather, many have also taken to working from the backyard, a balcony, or another outdoor space they normally would not have considered. Co-working spaces have also utilized this approach.
Design with Personality
In addition to the functional trends caused by increased working from home, designers also anticipate that in 2021 bright colors will be prominently featured in home offices. Saying goodbye to austere corporate offices, through its décor, a home office can be playful and joy-filled, hopefully filling some of the gaps left by the absence of co-workers. Other remote workers may prefer a comforting “cottage” aesthetic, making their home office feel more comfortable than a typical office.
Bringing the Outdoors, In
If you are missing the plants in your office, you are not alone. Design professionals predict that homebound workers will want to bring the outdoors in, both for aesthetic purposes, as well as for productivity purposes. Productivity can improve by as much as 15% through the addition of plants in one’s workspace.
Getting Comfy and Increasing Productivity
The pandemic has created a huge demand for ergonomic office chairs for use in the home. While office-based workers could formerly rely on their office chairs and not their home-office chairs, the ergonomics of home office chairs are now far more important. A 2003 ergonomics study found that employees who were given an ergonomic chair reported fewer negative symptoms throughout the day and a total increase in productivity of 17.7%.
Co-working spaces are highly desirable in a pandemic, both as a way to meet other people and to see more than the walls of one’s home, but they can be antithetical to social distancing.
Some co-working spaces have managed to thrive, especially co-working spaces that offer an outdoor space. Other indoor co-working spaces have changed little since before the pandemic, but they have altered the space to allow for social distancing, provide hand sanitizer, and require that visitors wear masks when they get up from their desks.
Gaby Brogan, Writer at Kings Crest Global, says “before the pandemic I used co-working spaces and I loved the collaborative, creative atmosphere they encouraged. This was done using open floor plans, communal kitchen spaces and even co-working space social events every week.”
Since the pandemic started, Gaby has been to her coworking space a few times. She noticed that the space was thoroughly cleaned every day and she had easy access to hand sanitizer. The kitchen was closed to encourage social distancing, but the social events had moved online. These online events enable her to consistently socialize and network, which is one of the key draws of a coworking space.
Remote Working in Different Locations
Finally, those who have the option have taken the advantage of remote work to choose to work in different global locations. Many people who were once tied to one location for years, because of the requirement that they come into the office, can now choose to truly work ‘remotely’ whether that is on a houseboat, in rural Vermont, or in a beach town.