Office Design Post-Covid
With people slowly heading back to office-based work after long periods of remote working due to COVID-19, there will need to be considerations for how the office is set up. The need to work in a socially-distanced office space isn’t likely to end any time soon, so employers will need to create office spaces with the pandemic in mind.
There are few factors pointing towards an imminent return to office life. These include the arrival of multiple effective vaccines and year-long lockdown measures, which have helped prevent the virus’s uncontrolled spread.
So, what can office managers do to ensure their workspaces are fit for post-pandemic life? Or, at least, life approaching the end of the pandemic?
Ensuring adequate ventilation
By now, it is well-recognized that the COVID-19 virus is less transmissible outdoors or in areas with increased airflow. According to this logic, offices need to ensure acceptable levels of air conditioning and filtration.
Opening windows might not be enough to comply with the airflow needed to make the workspace as safe as possible. A common sight of the near future might be offices fitted with intelligent ventilation systems.
While not the main method of viral transmission, employees should be prevented from touching contaminated surfaces. Door handles, elevator buttons, and shared kitchen areas are all areas where infection could potentially occur.
These will either need to be cleaned more often or preferably, replaced completely. Companies can modernize offices by introducing contact-free entry methods such as retinal recognition or motion sensors.
Open-plan is here to stay, but it will need more space
Although there will be a need to maintain social distancing for a while longer, offices will not likely revert back to the outdated design of individual cubicles.
Instead, open-plan offices will become increasingly popular as more focus is placed on collaboration and social spaces. However, there will be plenty of importance placed on keeping it socially-distant. Some offices might make use of transparent partitions to separate workers.
Co-working spaces and flexible working to kick on
As more teams migrate to co-working spaces, office design post-COVID is likely to take on a more flexible form. Think along the optional seating and tables that can be pushed together to create a meeting space.
Flexible walls could also become a staple of future office spaces. Screens between workers are required in times of concentrated work or necessary separation due to social distancing.