While it is the start of a brand-new year, it is the same old story when it comes to working patterns and places. The ultra-infectious Omicron Covid strain has left workplaces up and down the country understaffed, with reports of 25-50% occupation levels in some of the hardest hit locations.

Periods of isolation are being played out against the continuing work from home movement, although we were just at the cusp of finding a new balance between centralised and home-based desks at the end of 2021.

Persistent uncertainty, however, is shaping office design as we move through 2022 but how do you draw up a workplace that’s fit for a fluid existence? User studies are the answer, as practiced by German tech company SAP. A user study among employees in its Singapore office found 88% of staff spent less than 50% of their working day at their desks.

The results helped inform a comprehensive refurbishment and redesign of its space, with a hybrid working environment taking over from a traditional office set up. The removal of dedicated desks in favour of ‘free seating’ and shared spaces for brainstorming, collaboration and social interaction marks the transition into a new era of office design – one that’s crafted to flex in line with today’s changeable work-life-health balance.

One interesting read on the hybrid topic is Dell’s Leading the Next Hybrid Workforce study. It highlights the need to increase dialogue between employers and employees to create positive workplace experiences, as well as discussing the preservation of culture and social interaction, and providing an environment that can’t be recreated at home.

MPL Interiors can lead a user study exercise in your workplace ahead of a redesign. Our process will uncover new working patterns, identify shortcomings in your office, and highlight imbalances when it comes to office furniture, layouts and communal space. Talk to us today about accommodating the fluid workforce.