To Retrofit or Not to Retrofit? Evaluating the Pandemic’s Impact on Workplace Design
Virtual meetings are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to workplace changes catalyzed by the pandemic. The current focus is workplace retrofitting, or assessing how meeting spaces are organized through technology, furniture, and layout. Rob Newell, Chief Tech Officer of Dancker, is an industry expert and joined Host Daniel Litwin to elaborate upon retrofitting.
Newell explained that some people falsely believe they need a complete workplace overhaul to retrofit. Sometimes they simply need some new technology, while other times they should to refocus existing strategies.
The greatest challenge in retrofitting is creating presence equity to engage remote workers with in-person workers. For example, Java has a three-camera system, one of which is focused on the whiteboard in the room. “If you can equip the office so that the person working remotely can really get the benefit and feel like they’re part of the team even though they’re not siting physically in that same room, that goes a long way with helping employees stay connected and keeping them productive,” said Newell.
Post-pandemic, there has been a reduction in traditional conference room use in lieu of smaller, more flexible spaces. Smaller spaces are now dual purpose for office and shared use. Pantries, cafes, and outdoor spaces are becoming increasingly popular for both socialization and working. Newell explained, “The key is to provide options and balance for the various types of work that different employees engage in throughout the day.”
What is Newell’s key takeaway for retrofitting? “People should always be the first consideration so it’s important to design the space with the wellbeing and comfort of the individual in mind,” he said.
More information on current trends in workspace retrofitting is available at Dancker.com, or on Dancker’s LinkedIn page. Catch more Collaborative TechTalk podcast episodes on Apple iTunes and Spotify.