How coronavirus will shape office buildings in the future
Over the decades we've been doing commercial fit-out and office refits, we have experienced a lot of changes in the way our customers want to create their work environment. Gone are the days of ghastly fluorescent lighting and small enclosed office spaces – thankfully. Companies know the importance of ensuring their workers have a great work environment and make sure they are healthy and happy too. After all, a well-nurtured workforce is a productive one!
During the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of things have changed. This is a shift in our society and our culture which we think will impact our working lives for decades to come. The way we use office spaces, our daily routines and how we go about business has and will continue to change from here on out. As a result, we think this will shape our relationship with office space and redefines the needs of the workforce.
Will these be the things we consider?
Thinking about commuting differently
Government advice is centered around avoiding crowded forms of public transport with a strong focus on walk, run or cycle to work. Many offices that we refurbish or full fit-out have showers for those that choose to cycle or run to work. Undoubtedly, there will be an increase in people opting to get to work this way over the years to come. Office planners and designers will need to think about how they approach bike storage, washing facilities, and changing rooms.
More emphasis on cleanliness and sanitation in offices
As lockdown eases off and people return to work, germ contamination will be at the forefront of each employee's mind. Appropriate PPE, hand sanitizer and hygiene best practice will all be imperative. In the short-term, we will see shared spaces with serious restrictions placed upon them. Many serviced offices have already taken away cups, plates, mugs and cutlery and postponed meetings in communerial spaces. Anything that is a touch point, such as printers, photocopiers, doors, lifts and touchscreens will be closely scrutinised for it’s potential spread.
Expect to see hand sanitization points around offices much like you would at a hospital.
The end of the meeting room?
We're BIG fans of having face to face meetings with our potential clients. You REALLY can't beat all getting together in a room and really working out the details on any construction project.
However, we're now seeing even self-confessed technophobes dialing into a video conference on zoom, or skype to conduct their daily business meetings. No travel, no expenses and many will make this a habit over the next year. It's inevitable that we will see a trend where people are relying less on meeting rooms and face to face meet-ups for their business.
So, what does the future of offices look like?
Well, they will probably be geared up to support those that drive, cycle or walk to work more so than they do today. We think hand sanitization stations will become commonplace in almost all offices regardless of the sector the business is in.
Small teams, flexible working with minimal equipment, working from home and less face to face meetings are things that are likely to see an upward trend over the next few years and these changes in the needs of the workforce will influence the work environments that we design.
Have a commercial fit-out project you would like to talk about? Drop us an email and let’s talk.