We are in a “reopening” phase that includes retail stores, restaurants, and yes, offices. Most of us are still debating venturing out to the retail side of this reopening and haven’t given much thought to returning to the office. For today’s blog we are taking a look at an interesting overview of what the office may look like when, or if, you return.
Open Floor Plans
The open spacious offices with glass conference rooms and open floor plans now create a sense of danger. Those clusters of cubicles all facing each other look more like a great place to spread the virus. And getting into the restroom, coffee bar, and meeting areas requires touching too many door handles.
Our research indicates that we will see changes in the spacing of desks, reductions on the number of chairs in the meeting rooms and reception rooms, and more plexiglass separating people for starters.
Reduction in Office Space
One of the projected impacts of extending the work from home option is the need for less office space. Actually, reducing space may not happen as quickly as projected. As offices increase the distance between workstations, they may need the original space to accommodate that spread.
The longer overview is that companies will be able to reduce their need for office space as we move through the transition back to the office and discover how many people will be in the office and how much room is necessary.
Companies have become aware that their employees can work from home and retain, if not increase, their productivity. Managers have discovered that constant micro-managing isn’t necessary.
Automating the Office
Doors that open automatically using motion sensing and facial recognition, infrared temperature checks, towel and soap dispensers that produce products hands free, elevators and even coffee can be ordered with a smart phone – all could be a part of the “new” office.
When the 6-foot rules are breached, technology could also be used to remind employees of social distancing via their cell phones.
In order to prevent people clustering at entrances and elevators, companies will likely have staggered shifts.
Companies will also become more adamant about employees who are ill staying at home instead of showing up to contaminate the office.
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