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New Work: How to Update Your Workplace

Everyone is talking about New Work. The goal is to innovate as much as possible in the professional world, adapting it to the latest trends in globalisation and technology. This work world 4.0 is flexible, highly independent and uses modern, cutting-edge technology. In the following article, you will learn how to establish New Work at your company and update your workplace.

Open Spaces Instead of Offices

An increasing number of companies are converting their offices into open spaces to encourage teamwork and communication. This can reduce rent by 20% compared with traditional double or individual offices. Open spaces have different work zones for each activity. This means that there are zones equipped for concentration, as well as those for phone calls and meetings. Open space offices also include rooms with white boards or walls you can write on to encourage creativity and brainstorming. These open spaces are simple enough to serve a variety of purposes and can easily be reorganised when necessary.

Open space offices allow for flexible workstations, which is perfect for the New Work mindset. This means that employees no longer have a set workstation: they choose their station when they arrive each day. So, during project development, teams can get together and coordinate daily. This keeps things flexible at your company and allows for more freedom.

Better Acoustics with Sound Absorption

However, large rooms and modern furniture are often bad for acoustics, since open spaces lead to an increase in the noise level. This comes from surfaces that reflect sound waves, such as glass, concrete or metal. Sound reverberates off these materials, so you need to install sound-dampening equipment to decrease the noise.

Here are the most popular methods for improving acoustics:

  • Acoustic fleece for the ceiling: Acoustic fleece for the ceiling is a well-known sound-dampening method. It covers 30–40% of the surface of the ceiling and reduces noise level in the office by absorbing sound.
  • Soundproof curtains: Soundproof curtains replace traditional partitions. They are a great way to divide the open space into several zones while improving acoustics.
  • Mobile partitions: Mobile partitions, like soundproof curtains, can be used to divide the room into sections. Mobile partitions on wheels can be easily moved from one place to another.
  • Sound-absorbing wall panels: Flexible sound-absorbing panels attach to the walls. In rooms with low ceilings, they are a good substitute for acoustic fleece.
  • Acoustic panels: Acoustic panels absorb sound. They are a two-for-one solution, because you add decoration to the office while improving acoustics. Acoustic panels can be mounted on the wall or set up with adjustable feet or cables.

 

Keep Backs Healthy with Ergonomic Workspaces

Investing in ergonomic workspaces is important, especially for companies where most work takes place on a computer. This means at least having ergonomic office chairs for correct posture and a height-adjustable desk where you can sit at least 50 cm from the screen.

Staying seated too long increases fatigue and leads quickly to back pain. So, let your employees stand up from time to time with height-adjustable desks. They will have more energy and concentrate better.

Your employees will be more productive if you encourage them to move regularly. For example, you can:

  • encourage them to jog in groups in the morning or during lunch
  • have them do team exercises each day
  • install a gym in the building or offer discounts at other fitness clubs.

 

Make Daily Work More Flexible

If you really want to embody the New Work concept, you need to make daily work more flexible. This includes both hours and location.

Allow your employees lots of freedom in organising their schedules, and maybe even consider a 4-day work week, which has been proven to increase motivation and productivity.

Ever since lockdown, it has become clear that working from home offers many advantages to both companies and employees. Acoustics are also important at home in order to create an optimal work environment, particularly for online conference calls, with or without video. If you or your employees participate in an online conference call from home, you should:

  • choose a room with as few surfaces as possible that reflect sound waves
  • install sound-absorbing equipment in the room
  • avoid interference such as audio feedback
  • place the microphone as far as possible from the speaker
  • invest in an echo-cancelling microphone.

With these tips, you can start your conversion to New Work. Leave obsolete approaches behind and step into the innovative work world 4.0.

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