How the COVID-19 is changing the face of workplace design

Author Ivan Smiljanic Read bio
Tags: covid 19 work environment workplace
Date: September 14, 2020

The ongoing pandemic has urged landlords and businesses to redesign their workspace to meet the new regulations regarding health and safety

It’s not just about having six feet between the desks anymore. Air filters, signage guiding people and many high tech products that were considered optional before March, have been put to place. 

COVID-19 is structurally changing the way offices look and operate. Employees’ well-being is driving this change, no matter the cost. 

Keeping this in mind, the first place companies are looking to are technology-based solutions.

Future offices will be different now that we’re really aware of what is important. This is also an opportunity for employers to be better and do better than before. 

Germ-free office with the help of technology 

Many companies have already adopted touch-free technology like bathrooms with light-activated sinks. Many technologies that were considered optional and nice to have such as app-controlled lighting, temperature and doors and elevators opening with corporate badges, are now added to reduce the risk minimize the contact points.

Some companies have started using UV light to disinfect the workspace when no one is around, since ultraviolet rays can be harmful for people.  

Social distance

Companies are facing the challenge of decreasing the number of employees allowed per office, or any other closed space. Many companies don’t have the luxury of getting extra space, so they have to be creative with how they rearrange the desks. You will start noticing that the workspace is being used more creatively and efficiently

Other companies turn to remote working and keep as many employees as they can operating from home.

Cleaning the keyboard

Wellbeing is the focus  

Wellbeing was on the agenda even before the pandemic but now the focus has been shifted to it completely. 

Health and safety are a priority, but this weird time has also allowed us to reflect on what wellbeing is and what fuels it, and the likes and dislikes in the workspace. You know the little morning chat you have with the colleagues in the morning that didn’t seem as much before the pandemic, but now we realize what a wellbeing booster it actually was. Companies have to adopt the mindset that spaces have to work for employees not against them.

This means that they may have to adapt the workspace in the form of:

  • Areas designated to relaxation and stress relief. These spaces could have calm colors, comfortable furniture and dimmable lighting;
  • Nature incorporation to the working environment in form of plants and greenery being installed and places throughout the office;
  • Increased health promotion;

Technology oriented

Companies’ ability to create an agile workspace will depend on technology. One thing is for certain – this pandemic has shown us how essential technology actually is. It brings another channel for communication, knowledge-sharing and collab while allowing more flexible ways of working.

What does this mean for landlords and property agents?

Many changes in design preferences will lead to selective business tenants, as employers will look for space that is equipped to support health and safety, as well as wellbeing standards.

What this means is that landlords and property agents will have to be aware of the changing priorities and be prepared for the wellbeing-related questions. 

Whatever happens in the future, it’s already clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a long-term effect on the way people across the world work and operate. The idea of coming to work while sick has become socially unacceptable and on the other hand, the growing focus and attention to health and hygiene is so strong that it gives completely new meaning to the idea of working in a sterile work environment.