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Brain circuits

Have you created an appropriate post-COVID office?

Published 24 September 2021 in Brain circuits • 2 min read

With vaccines rolling out, employees are moving back into traditional offices, but things aren’t going to be the same. This is the perfect time to review whether your office is set up in a way that fosters creativity and collaboration and makes the most of that face-to-face time employees have been missing during the last year.

Research has shown that the most important interactions at the office don’t actually occur in meetings, but rather between them. The informal interactions employees have when they chat in the halls or meet up at the coffee maker are where ties are made and collaboration across functions begins. It is therefore important to set up your office in a way that fosters these interactions and gets employees working creatively together.

The office of the next decade will be used as more of a culture space, where employees can meet to share ideas in a casual and comfortable office. To assess your space ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are there plenty of spaces where employees who don’t normally work together might bump into one another and strike up a conversation?
  2. Does the office have an effective balance between openness and privacy?
  3. Are managers encouraging employees to stop and get to know each other informally both through their actions and words?
  4. Is the office designed with acoustics in mind, so people can talk freely, but still have a degree of privacy?

Once everyone understands the office should be used as a space for connecting and building culture, the creativity and productivity is free to flow.

Authors

John Weeks

John Weeks

Professor of Leadership at IMD

Professor Weeks helps leaders understand how they can manage themselves to lead others more effectively and to have a positive and intentional impact on the culture in their part of their organization. Before joining IMD in 2007, he spent 11 years at INSEAD (France), where he was nominated three times as “Best Teacher.” An American who has lived on three continents, he served on the Board of Directors of LEO Pharma, and he has worked with clients in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

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