Tag Archives: COVID-19

“Right Sizing” Your Office in a Post-COVID World

“As a manager of a technology team, I never supported the notion of working remotely.”

That, according to Richard Casamento, former global program manager for the Intel Corporation. “I assumed people were about half as productive when they weren’t here.”

Mr. Casamento isn’t alone in his sentiments. Prior to COVID, it was a challenge to get senior managers to embrace the idea that employees could be as, or more productive from home.

But as COVID has taught us, workplaces are constantly evolving spaces. Their design and build is influenced by the changing needs of businesses, productivity trends and yes, occasionally far reaching pandemic type events from the outside world. In 2021, Successful office designs will reflect the new awareness in the industry, that virtual work is possible and can be managed effectively. Every company will agonize over the balance between remote employee productivity, the desire to save money on office space, and the intangible lifestyle, creativity and productivity improvements that are possible when people are interacting face to face in a positive environment.

In the rethink of company environments post 2020, the focus must become the creation of productivity powerhouses rather than just a space to rest your computer. So, how will office design change in a post-COVID world? What will these spaces look like and how will they be used? Here are some insights into the different trends shaping the design and implementation of the post-COVID office from the experts at BE Builds.

Why We Still Need Offices

For many employees, working remotely from home comes with it’s own, significant challenges. There’s no space for a proper workstation or desk, there’s less time and energy to focus on work because the hustle and bustle of family life is going on around you (especially if you have kids!), and chores can become a troublesome distraction from work tasks. Ironically, working from home can make it even more difficult to create that all-important work-life balance that we’re all after, as there is no escape from your environment, no change of scenery, and more limited interaction with coworkers. Studies have shown that prolonged working from home is directly linked to depression in many people1

Even the most advanced teaming technology we have is simply not powerful enough to substitute for physical, face-to-face interaction. That’s where the magic happens – it’s the catalyst for innovation, creativity and engaged problem-solving. It’s how real relationships between employees are built and how people go from being coworkers to genuine friends. And of course it remains the place where company resources and equipment are most easily available. For most industries, the company workplace needs to remain the primary focus of efforts to enhance employee productivity.

But we should not unlearn what COVID-19 has taught us. Our approach to office design and construction has to change, balancing the need for the energy and innovation of a shared space with the need for effective hygiene protocols and a more flexible working environment.

What to Consider When Choosing or Designing a Post-COVID Office Space

  • Design flexibility – Due to the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, office design needs to be safe, but flexible too. Businesses want a space they can use for collaborative meetings and other essentials that can’t be achieved successfully while working remotely without safety concerns. The space needs to be able to reflect this, offering the ability to easily switch around furniture and structures to create workspaces that are socially distant and hygienic, or to create collaborative spaces that are fun and conducive to worker discussion.
  • Custom solutions for your sector – The team at BE sees many different types of industries trying to reinvent their spaces for the new normal but priorities are highly dependent on what kind of business you’re in. Large healthcare clients are focused on changes to the layout and construction of their furniture. Copper clad materials, hygienic surfaces and of course barriers are changing the requirements for new build-outs. Others are adopting more subtle changes in layout and design that incorporate best practices for workplace efficiency and safety. BE partners closely with every company to balance their goals carefully while helping them choose from almost infinite options for exciting design within their budget.
  • Hygiene and safety – Regardless of whether your business is a traditional office space, a warehouse, a law firm, a clinic or anything else, the health and wellness of staff while on-site is critical. This should be supported in every phase of your office design, from selecting the right size office to ensuring peak wellness can be achieved by installing acrylic barriers on workstations, air purification systems, body temperature scanners and more.

Looking for Office Construction Services in NJ? Let’s Get to Work

Redesigning your office space for a post-COVID world is complex, but can be rewarding and cost effective when you have a good partner. At BE Builds, we’re dedicated to delivering exceptional office fit-outs on time and on budget. Whatever your office design challenges are, we’ll handle it all. Visit us at https://bebuilds.com/ for more information.


Originally posted at: https://bebuilds.com/redesigning-your-office-in-post-covid-world/

5 Things to Know Before Doing an Office Buildout

Are you ready to design an office space that meets all of your business needs? If you suspect that this is a complicated process, well you’re right. As a long time consultant and contractor for many office environments over the last 20 years, the team at BE has some good advice for company leaders who may be charged with this kind of project. Below are a few essential things you must consider before you start the office buildout process. These essential strategies will help this process go as smoothly as possible, while also saving time and unplanned expenses.

#1 – Determine Your Budget and Timeline

Start by developing answers to two of the most fundamental questions – how much are you willing to pay, and when would you like to move in. These questions will shape almost every aspect of your office buildout moving forward, from whether you are looking for a new site or not, to the size of the space and the kind of furnishings you want.

If you are leasing a space, it is important to speak to the landlord to negotiate the lease and see if they are to cover certain upgrades or not. If so, ensure you are compliant with the rules set in place for improvement projects, and discuss what will be considered as the property of the business.

#2 – Figure Out Your Spatial Needs

How much space do you really need? To answer this question, you need to determine what your office will be used for. This has changed significantly due to the on-going health crisis, where employers have had to adapt to remote working conditions.

As a result, it is now more important than ever to determine the use of your space. Will you need to accommodate a higher volume of people because they are essential workers that need a bigger space to ensure social distancing and meet capacity restrictions? Will you keep most of your employees working flexibly from home but need a smaller space for limited face-to-face collaborative meetings and brainstorming sessions? One good rule of thumb to use in the new normal? Plan for about 50 square feet per employee. While there are many factors that contribute here, this is a good starting point that also includes factors for bathrooms, hallways, teaming areas and such. If you have less than 10 employees you can potentially use smaller numbers, contact the team at BE Builds for more detailed information on office buildout guidelines.

#3 – Look at Ways to Save Money and Other Resources

Utility costs are a significant monthly expenditure, but with a considered approach to your office design, you can reduce these costs and access long-term savings. Saving electricity, water and other resources can be expensive if you are looking at solar installations or high-efficiency HVAC units, but there are plenty of budget-friendly ideas too. For example, using glass dividers to enclose different sections of the office space allows you to create private, naturally-lit areas that reduce reliance on fluorescent lighting. Similarly, installing LED lighting creates significant savings compared to halogen or fluorescent lighting. Installing a smart thermostat can help maximize savings from heating and cooling, while also making the office a more comfortable space.

#4 – Incorporate Strong Hygiene and Wellness Protocols into the Planning Process

A healthy office is a productive office! In recent years, businesses have started realizing the benefits of prioritizing wellness in the workplace1, from increased productivity and engagement to reduced absenteeism.

There are numerous ways to incorporate wellness concepts into your office space, including the use of ergonomic chairs and desks, maximizing natural lighting, introducing plants and outdoor spaces, strategic furniture placement for social distancing, air purification, sanitizing stations, and much more.

#5 – Consider The Future of Your Business

The question of, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” isn’t always an easy one to answer, especially in today’s business environment. The ongoing health crisis has affected and accelerated dramatic changes in all industries and workplaces, forcing businesses to adapt and become agile in a high-pressure environment. This has created changes in how we work, where we work, and even what we offer in terms of products and services.

As a result, work and office spaces need to reflect these changes. They need to align with long-term goals, be flexible in the short term, and help support productivity and engagement to play a strong role in the success of your business during and after COVID-19.

Contact BE Builds for Expert Advice on your Office Buildout in New Jersey

At BE Builds, we’re looking at designing and creating the offices of the future. Spaces that are uniquely suited to your business, as well as the external environment in which it operates. Backed by decades of experience in office fit-outs and office construction services, we’re ready to make your new office space a reality. Visit us today at https://bebuilds.com/


Originally posted at: https://bebuilds.com/things-to-know-before-doing-an-office-buildout/

In Every Pandemic, There’s an Opportunity

If you were considering an office-buildout before the pandemic hit, having lived through it can only be considered a blessing. At BE Builds, we’ve seen our clients designing workspaces that are dramatically different than the ones they would’ve designed just 12 months ago. Of course, there are enhanced safety considerations, but the reality is that the pandemic has created a design aesthetic – and opportunity – that doesn’t show any signs of going away soon. 

Health and Wellness Tech

Re-opening in a post-COVID world means making health and wellness a focus of office design rather than a productivity-enhancing perk, and the tech industry has really risen to the occasion. From touchless control systems and sensors to air purification systems, contactless access control and germ-killing UV lights, these systems work behind-the-scenes to support the health requirements of a post-COVID workplace. And these enhancements are not just a temporary investment due to the pandemic – they’re designed to deliver what every office needs for the long-term; healthier workers, reduced absenteeism due to illness and a workplace culture focused on physical and mental wellbeing.

Inventing the Wheel

Office design is constantly evolving in order for businesses to best fit the needs of workers, the environment they operate in, and goals for productivity and growth. In response to the pandemic, one innovative design has become a significant industry trend – the hub-and-spoke. In this office layout, a central hub workspace is designed for common use – meetings, collaborative engagement, brainstorming sessions, and team tasks – while smaller satellite workspaces or spokes are set out closer to employee’s homes. This meshes well with the need for socially-distanced office space in which to focus on productive tasks while still allowing employees flexibility and the ability to maintain a better work-life balance. 

This design is a great compromise on the either-or debate between working remotely or working in an office. Working from home simply doesn’t suit most businesses or employees – it makes collaboration difficult, work is constantly disrupted, and it lacks the stimulation and inherent productivity focus of an office environment. Using a hub-and-spoke design allows employees freedom to govern their time and independence better while providing them with quiet, well-equipped spaces in which to get things done, while still providing a space to collaborate, build relationships and develop a strong company culture.

Material Culture

Office cleaning has always been an important focus, from ensuring good indoor air quality and a pleasant-smelling environment to creating a neat, hygienic and professional space. Of course, this has moved to a considerably higher level of importance over the pandemic, and the trend of sanitized, germ-free workspaces will be a part of office design trends for years to come. This doesn’t mean just filtering air more carefully or cleaning more regularly, it means a change-up at every level of the office design itself. One way that this is being expressed is in the need for furniture and materials that can be quickly and easily cleaned. Gone are the velvets, leathers and upholsteries that trap dirt and germs and require special cleaning – instead, office designers are focusing on germ-resistant materials and furnishings that can stand up to regular sanitization and still look great.

Access to the Outdoors

Experts agree that one of the best ways of combating the spread of germs and viruses is as simple as plenty of fresh air. This is a challenge for most office buildings where, for decades, the emphasis has been on sealing buildings against natural air flow to support safety and indoor climate control. Today’s post-COVID office designs are looking for innovative ways to let the outside in, from creating outdoor meeting and cafeteria spaces to ensuring that windows can be opened to allow natural air flow through the space. Of course, this isn’t possible for many office buildings and is going to be a hard sell in the depths of winter or the height of summer, but for those spaces there are other solutions – high-efficiency air conditioning systems with the latest air filtration and purification tech. 

Build a Workspace for a Post-COVID World with BE Builds

BE Builds is an office design and buildout specialist focused on taking the stress and frustration of office construction. Knowledgeable about the needs of modern offices and the post-pandemic challenges businesses face, our experienced team will work with you to deliver a space that is safe, productive and as unique as your business. Visit us at https://bebuilds.com/

5 Reasons Why You Hate Working From Home

If you’re like us, you’ve probably always thought of working from home as a bit of a luxury, filled with visions of staying in your pajamas all day, enjoying the peace and quiet, and skipping all the frustration of a daily commute. But COVID-19 has shown many of us that working from home isn’t the dream we thought it would be! In 2021 companies are reimagining the return to work for sure, but they and their teams are actually more anxious than ever to get back together.  Here’s just a few reasons why.

#1 – It’s Lonely

Who would’ve thought that we’d miss casual meetings by the water cooler, small talk with clients and chatting about our lives over our lunch hour? But we do. The reality is, working from home is lonely stuff, even with all the Skype, Zoom and Teams meetings we’re constantly having. There’s a lot to be said for in-person conversations and catch-ups, not just in terms of the easy way we can all communicate in the office, but the way we bond, build relationships and create a working community. Chatting to the dog just doesn’t cut it!

#2 – Your Work-From-Home Office is a Mess

We’re sure there are people out there with quiet designated office spaces in their homes where everything is organized, professional and color coordinated – it’s just that we’ve never met one. Ever. Work-from-home office spaces are usually temporary, piecemeal and crammed into a spot that’s chaotic and difficult to use – your kitchen’s breakfast bar, your living room coffee table, or a corner of a bedroom. Wherever it is, chances are that it doesn’t come close to what you have in your actual office, and spending 8 hours or more there per day is not doing your focus, productivity or pleasure in your work any good at all.

#3 – It’s Chaotic

If you thought you were juggling it all before the events of 2020, you’re certainly finding out differently now. Working from home just isn’t the haven we all thought it would be – there’s not enough space for your computers, diary and files, you’re being overrun by dirty mugs and dishes, there’s never any coffee ready when you need it, and the noise from your neighbor seems to be perfectly timed for when you’re in a meeting. And if you have children or a partner living with you, then life at home is even busier. Let’s face it – if you want peace and quiet in which to work, the office is the best place to be. 

#4 – Distractions, Distractions, Distractions

Home is full of distractions, that’s just common sense. In fact, most of us spend a lot of time just filling our home with the most wonderful distractions we can think of. Whether it’s a new series on Netflix, a fridge full of goodies, a vegetable garden to tend, videogames or a chance to play with the kids, there’s a lot to do at home that isn’t work. And that’s not to mention the less enjoyable distractions like cleaning, laundry, and supervising remote home schooling. Before you know it, the day is half gone and you haven’t even gotten started.

#5 – It Gets Boring – Fast

For most of us, the first few days of working from home are pretty fun – but it gets dull quickly after the novelty wears off. Staying home, usually for the entire day, isn’t good for our mental or physical health because there simply isn’t enough variety in terms of what’s going on. Sure, your usual day at the office is probably not a rollercoaster ride of thrilling events, but there’s so much happening and so much to do that the hours go by much faster. There are more opportunities to challenge yourself, to meet new people and work together to create meaningful solutions. Every day is different when you are part of a bustling team and working in a vibrant, driven environment.

BE Builds – Delivering Everything You’ve Ever Wanted in an Office

BE Builds is a team of office design and construction specialists in New Jersey who are dedicated to delivering exceptional office fit-outs on time and on budget in a post-covid world. We’re ready to solve your office design challenges, handling all the mess and hassle of construction and creating COVID-safe, productive spaces that help your organization thrive. Visit us at https://bebuilds.com/ 

Will Open Office Furniture and Layouts Change Due to COVID-19?

The so called “Open Office Plan” has been a go-to strategy for the development of business environments for literally decades. Its most basic advantages have to do with the lack of barriers allowing easy lines of communication (some might say too easy..), and the layouts typically utilize tighter more intimate desking or short cubicle configurations in an open room, that use less square footage per person. That’s good in big cities and other places where office space is at a premium. Open office when done right, allowed a working environment that was intimate, team oriented and economically efficient.

While many in our industry are loudly heralding the death of open office in a post pandemic world, the team here at BE has a different take. While companies in a post pandemic world may be looking for more hygienic office design and furniture solutions, and looking to redefine the role and size of their offices, the answer is more complicated and nuanced than simply throwing open office into the junk heap of design strategies and putting everyone into a private office.

Part of the reason open office gets blamed by so many companies is that frankly, so many companies did it so badly. Before you throw your open-office concept into the dumpster, we’re here to tell you that a thoughtful, more considered approach can help you retain the best of open-office, increase privacy and reduce germ transmission, and reinvent the goals of your office space. Whether you’re planning to downsize your office space, re-task your teaming areas, create workplace hubs, your problem isn’t open office. It’s a problem of office intelligence that can be solved with the right alignment of design with your company culture, health best practices, and a rich understanding of what is out there in the world in terms of furniture and office construction techniques that bring it all together.

Here’s a few thoughts on how you can extend your open office strategy to meet the goals of the new world in office design, furniture and construction.

Incorporate a Sense of Wellness into your Open Office Strategy

In the past, most businesses chose the open office route to maximize the usage of limited floorspace and cut the cost of developing private offices for everyone. With COVID-19 still in play, the first reason has changed because a new mindset has developed. Businesses are now wondering how many people can I get in here safely? We’ve also noticed a shift in location. A lot of cramped NYC offices are now looking to relocate to equivalent or even larger office space in the NJ suburbs. This has a lot to do with current CDC social distancing guidelines but also a desire to expand while keeping costs down. To ensure everyone stays at least 6ft apart from one another while working, there has to be enough square footage per person.

Understanding the ultimate goals behind implementing this reinvented layout will help designers focus their efforts on the most important elements of their design. Including the logistics of a functional layout to promote the motivation, health and safety of employees at all times. This doesn’t require one to completely abandon open office, but with increased distancing, better workflow routing, and hygienic partitions and furniture, your existing open office concept can often be leveraged.

Choosing the Right Products to Promote Health and Safety

Commercial office furniture is an important tool to support the activities occurring within the different workspaces, and needs to be carefully considered in order to promote the most efficient workflow.

This means conducting an in-depth survey into each department to consider what they need to return safely to office. Taking this into account will help determine the right furniture and space to ensure employees thrive and feel safe in their work environment. Your workplace should consider solutions that ensure proper social distancing within each workspace, and the hygienic safety of your employees and the office environment. Luckily, there are many COVID-compliant products available that can easily be incorporated into an existing open office layout, such as acrylic barriers, air purifiers, sneeze guards, and more. Or if you’d like a more permanent solution, our construction division, BE Builds can help you design and install an architectural wall solution that is cost effective.

Stay Open, to Open Office

Open office design plans will continue to have its detractors, however we are here to tell you that the concept is not wholly incompatible with the new office normal. We might suggest however that help from our experts at BE can show you what is possible, saving you money and bringing you the office of your dreams at the same time.

To find out more about the office design and construction services we offer, please contact us today at: https://www.befurniture.com/contact/