The Most Popular Office Space Improvements and Upgrades Post-COVID: Motivating Employees to Return

The Most Popular Office Space Improvements and Upgrades Post-COVID: Motivating Employees to Return
Inside new office space

As the world emerged from the pandemic, the office space landscape has undergone significant changes. Employers are now faced with the challenge of enticing employees back to the office while ensuring their safety, comfort, and productivity. In Chicago, a city known for its vibrant business environment, the demand for modern but amenity-rich office spaces is now on the rise. We’ll dive into the most popular office space improvements and upgrades that you can make, especially those which tenants are now seeking.

1. Flexible Workspaces

The move towards remote and hybrid work models has led to a growing demand for flexible office workspaces. Companies in major cities like Chicago are now rethinking and reevaluating office layouts to better accommodate the various work styles and employee preferences. Typically this includes:

  • Hoteling and Hot-Desking: These concepts allow employees to reserve workstations as needed,
    promoting flexibility and reducing the need for permanent desks.
  • Modular Furniture: Furniture that can be easily reconfigured to suit different tasks and team sizes is
    becoming increasingly popular.
  • Collaborative Spaces: Open areas designed for team collaboration, brainstorming sessions, and
    informal meetings are essential for fostering creativity and innovation.

2. Enhanced Technology Integration

Technology now plays a much more crucial role in the modern office. Employers are investing in advanced technological solutions to support hybrid work and improve efficiency. Some key upgrades include:

  • Video Conferencing Equipment: High-quality audio-visual systems are essential for seamless
    communication between in-office and remote employees.
  • Smart Office Systems: Automated lighting, climate control, and occupancy sensors help create a
    more efficient and comfortable workspace.
  • Very-High-Speed Internet: Reliable and extremely fast internet connectivity is a must-have for any modern office since typical home internet speeds have significantly improved in the last few years.

3. Health and Wellness Features

Employee health and wellness have become top priorities for employers. Office spaces are being
redesigned to promote physical and mental well-being. Popular improvements include:

  • Improved HVAC Systems: Upgraded ventilation systems with advanced air filtration to ensure better
    indoor air quality.
  • Touchless Facilities: Sensor-based fixtures in restrooms, kitchens, and entryways to reduce the
    spread of germs.
  • Biophilic Design: Incorporating natural elements such as plants, natural light, and outdoor views to
    create a calming and rejuvenating environment.

4. Private and Quiet Spaces

While open-plan offices encourage collaboration, they can also be noisy and distracting. To address this,
many companies are creating private and quiet spaces for focused work. These include:

  • Phone Booths and Meeting Pods: Soundproof booths for private calls and small meetings.
  • Quiet Zones: Designated areas for individual work that require concentration and minimal
  • Library Spaces: Quiet, tech-free zones where employees can focus on tasks without interruptions.

5. Social and Recreational Areas

Creating a sense of community and providing spaces for relaxation and socialization are key to motivating
employees to return to the office. Popular additions include:

  • Break Rooms and Lounges: Comfortable areas with cozy seating, coffee stations, and snacks where
    employees can unwind.
  • Game Rooms: Spaces equipped with games and recreational activities to encourage team bonding
    and stress relief.
  • Outdoor Spaces: Patios, terraces, and rooftop gardens where employees can take breaks and enjoy
    fresh air.

6. Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Design

Sustainability is a growing concern for many businesses. Eco-friendly office designs not only reduce
environmental impact but also appeal to employees who value sustainability. Key features include:

  • Energy-Efficient Lighting: LED lighting and smart controls to reduce energy consumption.
  • Recycled and Sustainable Materials: Using eco-friendly materials for furniture, flooring, and finishes.
  • Waste Reduction Programs: Implementing recycling and composting programs to minimize waste.

7. Customizable and Personalized Spaces

Employees appreciate having a say in their work environment. Customizable and personalized office
spaces can boost morale and productivity. Popular options include:

  • Adjustable Workstations: Desks and chairs that can be adjusted to suit individual preferences.
  • Personal Storage: Lockers or cubbies where employees can store personal items.
  • Decor and Branding: Allowing employees to personalize their workspaces with decor and company

8. Safety and Security Enhancements

Ensuring the safety and security of employees is paramount. Office spaces are being upgraded with
features that enhance security and provide peace of mind. These include:

  • Access Control Systems: Keycard or biometric access to control entry to the office.
  • Surveillance Cameras: Security cameras to monitor common areas and entry points.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Clear signage and protocols for emergency situations.


The office scene in Chicago after COVID is changing quickly, and now with a higher focus on flexibility, innovation, wellness, and overall health. Employers are allocating funds towards enhancing and updating their office spaces to establish conditions that inspire employees to come back and succeed. When seeking to rent or improve your office space in Chicago, it’s important to collaborate with an experienced tenant representative to guide you through the market and locate the ideal space for your business requirements. Contact Steve Goldstein today at 312-840-9002 to discuss your office space needs and take the first step towards creating a modern, motivating, and productive work environment for your team.

Steve Goldstein  / About Author

Steve Goldstein / About Author

In 1991, Steven founded ChicagoBroker with one goal in mind. Help business owners negotiate the best possible lease or purchase for their commercial space.

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