You’ve heard it before: in the past several months, nearly everything we know about the modern workplace has changed. A large part of the world’s workforce has gone from gathering in busy commercial offices to hunching over laptops at kitchen and dining room tables.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to get and keep our workspaces organized, wherever they may be today.
We spoke to Brad Maxwell, Manager, Category Merchandising for The HON Company, about the challenges of staying organized at home and, eventually, back in the office.
Should we replicate the office environment at home?
The biggest dilemma of heading home, Maxwell said, is that “the home office is not naturally accommodating to our traditional type of work. It’s just different in so many ways. 2020 has brought a rapid shift in how we’re all working, and it’s been a quick evolution for turning these spaces into something new.”
Now that they’re at home, many people want to replicate (or even improve upon) their former office spaces as best they can.
“It’s something we’re working to address,” said Maxwell. “Not only are we thinking about the office and how it’s evolved and how we use storage, we’re thinking about how that translates to the home office.”
What does storage look like in the WFH era?
Storage is a critical component of this equation. Whether you’re WFH, where your space is configured differently from your previous office, or in an office that has been rearranged to accommodate social distancing guidelines, you still need somewhere to put your stuff.
HON is having conversations about how to meet that need. “How can we adapt specific storage pieces, create new products, or use our current products in different ways from what they were originally intended?” asked Maxwell.
“As we think about working from home, and the items people had in their office spaces, the need for active storage has become much more relevant. It’s not just about the actual items we’re storing anymore; it’s about our consideration of what’s happening in the world,” Maxwell said.
Fortunately, there are many HON products that can be used no matter where you’re working, including the Fuse personal storage line.
“We introduced Fuse a year ago,” said Maxwell. “It’s got a fun aesthetic that allows users to customize their workspaces. It’s a smaller product, one that fits well in both the office and at home, because it has a smaller footprint and replicates how people are storing things today.”
What “touchless” components are needed?
The office space has seen significant change, as well. Many employees remain at home and, at the same time, companies are preparing for what the office looks like in 2021 and beyond. The HON team is thinking about pieces that can be used within the space to help people adapt.
One top priority is surrounding storage items with functional pieces, enabling teams to collaborate in a more open space with proper distancing and protocols in mind.
“Companies still have to find a way for employees to collaborate,” said Maxwell. “The premise of minimal or zero touches is key. We’ve introduced new electronic features to our storage. We can eliminate additional touches with these features, as opposed to physical keys or cards.”
HON’s new Storage Islands were developed in response to the question, “How do we foster collaboration without getting people crammed in too close?” Employees will have a common-top meeting area, and they can put seating around the units at a safe six-foot distance.
Contain is another ideal option; this is a versatile, everyday storage system that has an electronic-locking capability and a smaller footprint. These considerations are even more critical as a post-pandemic society (and workplace) comes into focus – whether that’s three months, six months, or longer down the line.
“Cookie-cutter approaches to design and storage won’t work,” Maxwell said. “There’s going to be a need to provide more flexible options and create better, safer storage solutions.”
Organizing a workspace that works for you
We all work differently. The key to creating a workspace that works for you is identifying the elements that make you feel comfortable and productive, whether that’s a specific type of desk or chair, or a storage unit— and then bringing those elements to your workspace.
For example, if you’re at home and your job requires a specific computer, scanner or printer, or you need extra notebooks or pens, the technology and materials you had at the office should be mirrored as closely as possible. The same is true for digital tools, such as videoconferencing, project management and file-sharing platforms.
Figure out what works for you, then do your best to create that in your setup. Follow these tips for healthy productivity, anywhere:
- Designate a specific area as your workspace and use it daily.
- Make sure you have everything you need to work remotely.
- Choose a comfortable chair that offers good lumbar support.
- Choose a desk or table that allows you to work efficiently.
- Use appropriate storage to keep your space organized and clutter-free.