Workspace

Planning Your Future Workspace Post Covid

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27/10/2020

Working from Home (WFH) has been the default working mode for most businesses and organisations in Singapore since 7 April 2020. This period of experimentation has both its merits and disadvantages. Initially, firms were still gearing up to prepare themselves for the remote working arrangement. Today, many workers have well-adjusted to such a working arrangement. How then should companies decide on their future office space needs? This unprecedented WFH experiment offers an interesting window into the future for companies to plan towards in a post COVID world, during Phase 3 of Circuit Breaker and beyond.

Assessing your future office space needs

Businesses can first begin accessing their employees’ productivity levels while working remotely. Performance metrics need to be carefully selected to better measure the productivity levels of employees’ performing different job scopes. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense to use the same productivity metrics for your sales team to measure your business support unit. Accurate productivity metrics need to be utilised for different business functions. Below is a table showing some of the possible productivity metrics that could be used for your different business units.

Business Function

Productivity Metrics

Sales

·       Call Volume

·       Sales Per Rep

·       Revenue Per Sales Rep

·       Lead to Win Conversion Rate

·       Average Selling Price

Marketing

·       Website Sessions

·       New Marketing Qualified Leads

·       Lead Conversion Rate

·       Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

·       Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)

Business Support

·       Call Volume

·       Average Speed to Answer

·       First Response Time

·       Customer Issues

·       Customer Service Satisfaction

Human Resource

·       Profit Per Employee

·       Revenue Per Employee

·       Expenses Per Employee

·       Payroll to Revenue Ratio

·       Employee Turnover Rate

Apart from these productivity metrics, seeking employees’ feedback is another important approach to gather information on whether remote working is a viable work arrangement for them. This would vary from individual to individual, depending on their nature of work, whether their home is an environment conducive to working. By assessing your employees’ remote working productivity levels and their opinions on efficiency, you can then better assess the real estate space requirements relative to the business functions of the organization.

Future Workspace Considerations

Now is the suitable time to ponder on the future of your workspace as businesses are thinking of returning to their office space. Currently, we are in a transition towards Phase 3 of the Circuit Breaker. On 23 September 2020, the Singapore authorities announced that they would allow more people to return to their workplace from 28 September 2020 (Monday).

Firstly, we need to understand how the future of work will transform. The COVID-19 situation has given rise to a new workplace ecosystem. Organisations can now choose to adopt a combination of three different working arrangements: working from home full time, remote working from anywhere, working in an office space. It is important for companies to identify the ideal ratio for work arrangements depending on their work style to strike a balance between working in an office and remote working.

Since the Phase 2 of the Circuit Breaker, there has been an increased number of enquires for office space in the city fringe and suburban parts of Singapore. This aligns with the concept of “working closer to home” since remote working has become more prevalent. Sometimes, it might not be feasible to work from home and it is easier to locate a flexible workspace closer to your place of residence. During this period, there is an uptick in enquiries for flexible workspace from SMEs and freelancers. At the same time, demand for short term lease is high too. This is likely due to uncertainty presented by the current market condition.

As we transit towards a post-COVID world, a more scalable workforce will be essential for businesses to adapt to and thrive amidst the changing market conditions. This means having the flexibility to respond to any situation that arises from uncertainty presented in the market, whether there’s a need to expand or downsize depending on organisations’ workspace needs. A flexible workspace will be a suitable solution to embrace this scalability due to its flexible lease period.

As the social distancing measures will continue to be in place, there is a high possibility for a de-densifying transformation of workspaces. This means that you will need a higher floor space per worker. For an example, a workspace that used to accommodate ten workers may now only be able to house five workers. Accounting for this office dedensification, office space demand will tentatively remain unchanged and may even increase when more businesses return to their office workspace. This is an important detail for businesses to consider since it would affect costing and the number of employees they can accommodate.

Office space design will change with emphasis being placed on safety and hygiene factors. Workplace wellness is another added consideration, since the pandemic, where there is an understandable focus on working in a healthy indoor environment. Air quality and ventilation in the building would be an added consideration when choosing a suitable workspace.

As more businesses are looking to return to their office space, it will be increasingly important to plan ahead for your workspace requirements, since demand will pick up eventually and this will have an impact on pricing. If you are looking for a consultation on the flexible workspace market, feel free to reach out to Edward Ho on 6415 3658. Alternatively, please send your available timing to edward.ho@workthere.com.sg.