Updated: Jul 23, 2020

88% of global organizations have encouraged or required their employees to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many other companies, MYN Group closed its New York City, Amsterdam, and Hong Kong offices to maintain our employees’ safety. As reopening begins, we wanted to discuss returning to the office now that day-to-day life has changed so drastically, especially with the widespread shift to digital workplaces and increased reliance on the internet. These changes beg the question: what does the future of the office look like?

Companies will have to redesign their offices in accordance with the “6 Feet Rule,” wherein people have to be six feet or more apart for COVID-19 to not spread. This means open floor plans will likely be redesigned to favor cubicles, conference rooms will be limited to a fewer people, and couches will be gone. Coworkers will be less likely to linger to chat around the water cooler, preferring instead to not be near others’ germs.

If offices have less space, it may be that only the most vital employees will frequent the workplace or that employees schedule who goes for certain days each week. Whatever the case, working from home is likely to remain prominent. And with the increase in remote work because of COVID-19, digital is now ingrained in our workspaces as a feasible alternative to in-person work. In fact, 54% of workers who have been working from home during the pandemic would prefer to continue working remotely, even once the public health restrictions are lifted.

But how do employers ensure productivity when working from home? Many companies are turning to monitoring their employees. There is software to measure your productivity by tracking your keystrokes, location, or eye activity. Denouncers are concerned that this tracking will normalize workplace surveillance and that it will continue when workers return to office.

Employers should take precautionary measures with their employees that go above and beyond maintaining a clean, disinfected office. Create a support system for employees to adjust to the “new normal” of the office. We suggest scheduling routine one-on-one check-ins with your employees (whether in person or on video chat) where you can help them combat any emotional challenges or problems. This support system will give them the opportunity to privately voice questions or concerns.

Another option is creating a log of recent travel to determine potential exposure. This way, you can track employees who have recently travelled and have them work remotely. Traveling team members can work remotely in case they begin exhibiting symptoms, and other employees will appreciate you ensuring their safety and trust in-office work more.

All in all, it’s important to remember that life will go on. While these rapid changes can be daunting, at the end of the day, it’s not where we work that matters, but rather, that we are able to pursue our goals and are passionate about what we do. Just always remember to communicate with your team and be honest about how you feel.

Meet the Author

Rachel is a Digital Strategy assistant at MYN North America. She’s pursuing a Political Science major and enjoys reading, learning languages, and classical voice. 

MYN Group is a global innovative digital agency that specializes in customer journeys and multi-channel ideation strategies by creating high converting digital UX for customers at every stage of the funnel. With an ever-evolving world of consumers, we apply discoveries of new technology platforms, data, consumer behaviors and more to communicate efficiently, digitally, and powerfully.