Trends in office design for employee happiness have evolved over time:
- In the early 1900s, Frank Lloyd Wright sought to make the office space more inviting by breaking down walls and creating a spacious open workspace, which eventually turned into offices with long rows of desks.
- In the 1950s as workers wanted more privacy in their office space, German design group Quickborner, decided to add partitions to the rows of desks so every worker had extra privacy.
- In 1968, designer Robert Propst and furniture-maker Herman Miller furthered the partition concept by adding larger surfaces, higher desks, and texture to the partitions: which we now considered cubicles. At the time, this design was considered a utopian vision.
- In the early 2000s, Google birthed the idea of a contemporary office environment and began adding game rooms, lounging spaces, kitchens, and outdoor recreation offices to foster collaboration, innovation, and open communication.
The company office has been the cornerstone of our work lives, until COVID-19 which created an environment that’s forcing new office safety protocols, and mandating whether employees will work in the office, at home, or a mix of both. Offices must again redesign their workplace strategy to encompass work-from-home teams at greater percentages of their overall workforce than ever before.
People teams, operations officers, and CEOs have a new, never before addressed problem to solve: How can you support your work-from-home employees and make them feel equally connected to HQ?
The Burdens WFH Employees Face
It’s expected that 25–30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. For most of your WFH employees today, working from home is their new reality, and their spaces were not intended to be a full-time office.
Each of your employees has different:
- Living arrangements
- Square footage and layouts in their home
- Personal lives
- Family lives
And giving your employees the responsibility of defining, setting up, maintaining, and optimizing their workspace, can be a burden. Not only does the inequality of WFH spaces and intricacies of personal lives cause varying levels of stress for each of your employees, a recent New York Times article, “The Pandemic of Work-From-Home Injuries” says it also can “constrict potential, contributing to isolation, and causing injury.”
How Employers Can Support Work From Home Employees
Despite the growing pains, there are many benefits to working from home. From protecting yourself from COVID to having more control over your time.
That’s why employers are beginning to find new ways to support WFH employees.
In addition to the standard employee benefits, the start-up tech companies we work with — typically in the Bay Area — are also supporting their work-from-home employees by offering a mix (if not all) of the following:
- Internet Stipend: Average $50
- Equipment And Furniture Stipend: $200 — $1,000, or by special request only
- Computer: Standard issued equipment to all employees
- Ergonomic consultation: To ensure employees have a safe and healthy work experience
- Virtual team events and classes: To continue fostering a collaborative and growth-forward environment
Still, there is no standard one-size-fits-all template for supporting employees who are working from home. And, there are often gaps in what a company provides its employees, and what the employee actually needs to be productive, and happy working at home.
Gaps in Work-From-Home and Work-From-Office Comforts
While employers are doing a great job to remain agile and supportive, some employees are facing an uphill battle when it comes to bringing the functionality, perks, and work culture of HQ into life as a work-from-home employee.
For example, some of your work from home employees are missing out on the benefits of office life:
- A physical connection to your brand and culture
- A quiet space to work
- A dedicated desk, office, or workspace
- Reliable access to professional video conferencing
- Meeting space or a quiet call room
- Cleaning staff (you don’t have to clean your workspace)
- Internet and tech resources that are maintained by the facilities team
- Work storage
- Catering, snacks, and beverages
These gaps are felt by not just by the employee, but also across the organization. Therein lies the problem that companies must solve: A workplace strategy that extends the experience of working from HQ.
What Employers Can Do To Bridge the Gap: Rethinking your WFH Benefits
People teams and CEOs have an opportunity to evolve their work-from-home programs to include home office design services that:
- Optimizes your spending per employee
- Improves productivity
- Enhances the work experience
- Saves time
- Relieves pain points
- Builds culture
Specifically, consider working with commercial space and residential interior designer, like Rose Design, to bring the HQ experience to your employees at home:
- Get 1:1 tailored design support for your employees
- Adapted company WFH guides with workplace best practices for a consistent and on-brand work-from-home experience
- Installation guides provided to execute the WFH recommendations
- Expanded support is always available for employees who need more
- COVID-19-friendly service executed remotely
Want to learn more? Contact Rose Design to see if your company can improve its WFH benefits.