Throughout history, we’ve seen the workplace evolve. From individual private offices to open plan, coworking space and everything in between. But the in-person versus work from home debate is a pandemic byproduct we never saw coming. Until a few years ago, in-person work was the standard and commercial office space was a requirement for business operations. But during the pandemic, that standard was questioned when millions of workers were forced to trade in their office space for working from home. In-person meetings became video calls at the kitchen counter, long commutes became a thing of the past and business attire was replaced with more casual options. The assumption was that employees would transition back into the office when it was safe to do so, but now, many people are questioning why a return to the office is necessary.
There are clearly benefits to both sides of this debate. Besides the obvious benefits of working from home (dress code, commute, flexible hours), it can be more comfortable than a traditional office. You set the temperature and don’t have to battle over the thermostat with everyone else in the office. Being around fewer people can mean you’re less likely to get sick (the reason people worked from home in the first place). And when working from home you have more control over the design and layout of the space you work in. Meanwhile, the office provides a place to focus with its own culture, structure and collaboration that can’t be replicated at home. Unfortunately, we can’t control your office dress code or shorten your employees’ commute. But we can help employees feel more comfortable in the office, improve the flexibility of the space and create a healthier environment.
Offices with raised access floors can utilize the underfloor plenum to route power and data cabling throughout the building and deliver those services wherever they are needed with modular plug-and-play wiring. This creates increased flexibility and futureproofs the office against unforeseen changes, such as those experienced due to the recent pandemic. As the office is rearranged to address the current desires of an office workspace, the underfloor services can be rerouted to accommodate those changes. The system allows you to introduce new workspaces in a way that is not possible with a more rigid service distribution system, giving employees more control over where and how they work in the office. Add distance and partitions between workers, private offices and collaboration rooms, introduce a small huddle space or a private video conferencing booth. Create a variety of workspaces and if something isn’t working to meet the needs of your employees, rearrange it and try something new without wasting time and money. We’ve said that office layout trends change over time, but now we are finding the need to be even more flexible and adjust to what really works best for each individual employee.
Raised floors with Underfloor Air Distribution also provide many benefits to your office space that mirror the comforts of working from home. Firstly, UFAD uses stratified airflow to improve the ventilation effectiveness and indoor air quality of the interior space by delivering air at a low velocity through the raised floor directly into the occupied zone via in-floor air diffusers. This allows the air to naturally rise to a ceiling return, pulling contaminants and CO2 away from occupants, creating a safer space for employees and improving productivity. By strategically placing those in-floor air diffusers throughout the office you give employees control over the amount and direction of airflow in their individual workspace so they can manage the temperature without impacting the comfort of other employees. Additionally, UFAD eliminates the need for overhead ductwork, which allows for exposed ceilings and reduces the amount of overhead service distribution space. This provides an opportunity for larger windows with greater daylighting and access to views, which can create a more aesthetically pleasing and relaxing work environment.
It’s no secret that offices must be able to adapt to the needs of employees to retain and attract top talent. We see that now more than ever before with the in-person versus work from home debate. Raised access floors with Underfloor Air and Service Distribution are an ideal solution to improve the flexibility of your office space to adapt to your employees’ needs quickly and easily and create a more employee-friendly work environment. Capitalize on all the benefits of a collaborative work environment while bringing some of the comforts of home into the office with individual temperature controls, improved indoor air quality, access to daylight and increased flexibility with raised access floors.