With the COVID-19 pandemic closing down many traditional workspaces and pushing people into their makeshift home offices, the workplace trends for fall of 2021 promise a new approach that allows those willing and able to return to the office a chance to do it safely. So, without further ado, here’s a look at the workplace trends you can expect as COVID-19 continues to change the way we interact.
#1 More Companies Will Remain “Hybrid”
More people than ever worked from home in 2020 and the beginer of 2021, but as fall approaches, more people will soon be returning to the office. Of course, that doesn’t mean the remote working trend is over! With many major corporations like Microsoft saying their remote workforce is here to stay, there’s going to be a fairly even split between those working from the office and those working from home (either part-time or full-time, depending on their position).
#2 Sanitary By Design
Proper hygiene will be engrained into office spaces, which may mean adding sinks to break rooms and kitchenettes, putting hand sanitizer dispensers throughout common areas, and making adjustments to the standard cleaning procedures. More offices may also begin seeing assigned lockers over “free for all” storage areas along with certain things, like access to cabinets and file drawers, being restricted to certain individuals to minimize shared-touch surfaces.
#3 Less Assigned Seating, More Boundaries
The face of collaboration is expected to look much different heading into fall 2021. Quite surprisingly, that might just mean “hot seats” are used more widely. Hot seating is a trend that came about in 2020, and it’s all about taking away assigned work spaces and instead allowing workers to choose their desk/space on a first-come, first-serve basis. While that might sound less sanitary, it’s actually becoming a more widespread practice.
This is because cleaners are often told to leave personal items alone when cleaning desks, but with unassigned seating, desks will be left with only the essentials at the end of the day, allowing for true sanitation and deep cleaning throughout the office. Of course, the modern office will also include physical boundaries or shields, be them walls, curtains, or clear plexiglass. Meanwhile, employees won’t be sitting directly across or right next to one another.
#4 Touch-less Technology
Hands-free technology has already begun working its way into the workplace, and this trend is only expected to continue, be it for visitor check-in (where QR code scanning is often used), automatic entryways, or light switches. Artificial intelligence will play a role in the touch-less revolution, too, with more people using voice assistants and other such technology.
#5 Naturally Better Air Quality
From antimicrobial materials such as copper to building materials that resist mold and promote better IAQ (indoor air quality), more and more construction companies are being asked to utilize natural materials for office design. Meanwhile, additions to the space — like beautiful plants and foliage — can help further promote good air quality. In addition, the importance of improved traditional filtration through HVAC systems can’t be under-stressed.
All of that means you can expect more greenery in the workplace come in fall 2021 as designers begin to merge the indoors with the outdoors and all of these changes can also mean a morale boost.
What trends do you hope to see in fall 2021?