What a Return to the Office May Look Like in Tacoma

Quick Read

We have seen many Tacoma businesses “rightsizing” their office spaces to better fit their needs as the thought-to-be temporary changes due to the pandemic have become long-term or permanent. A few of the changes that businesses have had to make will go away as the pandemic does too, but there are important changes that businesses have to keep up with, including:

  • Hybrid weeks where people work half the week in the office and half the week at home.
  • Hot desks could replace permanent desks for those working hybrid weeks.
  • Meetings will be changed to meet the demands of video chat, whether that’s through changing the conference room or the way meetings are held.
  • Many health standards regarding touching surfaces and air quality will continue to be held in high regard.

In the end, every business works differently. That’s why you’ll see some businesses go fully remote and some stick to having their employees be in-office for all five days. The key is to remember that permanent changes will be coming out of this, so be prepared.

Since the start of the pandemic, things have changed drastically for Tacoma companies. As these changes have become more long-term, we have seen many cases where companies will move into a new office space that better fits their new needs or move around their office layout to meet those needs.

Some changes that have come as a result of COVID-19 will go away as the pandemic ends, but some are here to stay. We break down the potential, permanent changes you could see in the office space as people begin returning to work.

Less Time In the Office

Will companies return to the office in Tacoma? The answer is… kinda. People have grown accustomed to virtual working. It was a pain to many at first but as people became more comfortable using apps such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, many began to see the positives that come out of working virtually.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll never have to step foot in an office again. There are some things that you just can’t get by working at home. It does, however, mean that it will be commonplace for people to work virtually for part of the week. According to Kayo Cloud, more than 80% of companies envision moving to a hybrid schedule like this.

Hot Desks

By spending less time in the office, the idea of having your own personalized space in the office is being questioned. If you’re only there for two or three days a week, that means your desk is sitting there, unused. Hot desks are one solution. These desks are set up in a way that anyone could sit down and use it for the day.

This means that the company needs less space. Having a desk for each of your employees would take up a lot more room than having just enough for however many people will be in the office.

Conference Rooms – Holograms?

What a Return to the Office May Look Like in Tacoma

Working from home brings up the question: What about meetings? It has become the norm to hold meetings where at least one person is calling in via Zoom or another video chat software. This means companies are changing their conference rooms and the way they do meetings.

You may find that your conference room has been equipped with 360-degree cameras, microphones, and speakers to make video chatting easy. Your company may even be one that has employees that are in the office video call into the meetings so that those working remotely can see everyone.

The solution that sounds like it came from the future, holograms, may be coming to Tacoma. Microsoft Mesh uses AR to allow people to feel like they’re together in the same room, even when they’re not. This allows those working from home to “sit” at the conference room table.

Health Standards

As people have gotten used to the extra health precautions around Tacoma office buildings, it has become less and less likely that they will be going away. A big aspect of this is being hands-free. Now that people are more away from germs than ever before, the concept of mobile apps, sensors, and voice-control to minimize touching surfaces will be here to stay.

Air quality has become a topic of importance as well. Not only has there been a dedication to revamping air filters, but there has been a focus on utilizing outdoor spaces whenever possible, such as roofs, terraces, and courtyards.

Final Thoughts

These changes that have been brought on from Covid-19 are becoming the new normal. Tacoma companies are being forced to look into changing their office space, whether that comes in the form of changing office size or moving things around.

We see a lot of people moving their offices to better fit their needs. We like to call this “rightsizing”. With less people in the office matched with a new need for health standards and a desire for a new layout, don’t be shocked if your company is the next to rightsize their office space.