Idea Exchange: “Will Your Office Look Different Post-Pandemic?”

Mark Allen, CAE
Executive Director
TXCPA Houston

“We’re preparing to reduce total office space by about 35% when relocating in early 2022. The new office will accommodate two post-pandemic shifts we believe will occur in our group, based on research we conducted: 1) Staff will continue to work from home on days when meetings or events are not being held in the office and when collaboration is not needed, and 2) More members will attend meetings and training sessions virtually. The office will be more multifunctional. Instead of separate board and training rooms, we’ll combine them into one space. Pre-function space will be combined with a staff break room. We’ll continue to have private staff offices, but they’ll be smaller with a larger shared space for collaboration.”

Deanna Menesses, CAE
Executive Director
Greater Houston Dental Society

“In late April, we will return to the office on an abbreviated schedule – two or three days in office and the remainder continuing remote. As far as our office space, we did try to reduce our space size down early on. With all meetings going virtual, we just didn’t need the larger conference room anymore. Unfortunately, the management company felt that even though we had a long relationship with them, they owed us no options. Our lease expires in June 2022, so we are stuck there until then. Future plans are still up in the air. We know that we will be leaving our current space. The question is, will we look for a smaller office, go 100% virtual, or go virtual with an ‘executive suite’ thrown into the mix?”

Trevor Mitchell, MBA, CAE, CDP
Executive Director/CEO
American Mensa

“Before the pandemic, we were already moving to a hybrid approach where staff could work a day or two remotely each week. We already had two staff that were 100% virtual, as they lived out of state. While this set us up for a quick transition when everything hit last spring, it pointed out a few things for us.

Not being able to meet face-to-face can create challenges in building relationships, trust, and some of those connections that fully help us do our jobs. The virtual environment works well to minimize distractions as others are more aware of interrupting each other. Some staff work better in the office and some at home. To get the best out of our employees, we want to provide environments that foster their best work.

We had the unique situation that our Foundation purchased a building for both organizations. We evaluated everything carefully, and they decided that this was the way they wanted to go. As we worked on the design, we thought about what we were learning about the future of office work and space.

We plan to continue with the hybrid model that we planned as we move forward. We want our culture to foster collaboration and strong work productivity no matter where we are. Our space is designed to maximize it while providing opportunities for private dedicated work and organic collaboration and connection. We ensured that our space can adapt to our changing needs as we move forward.”

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