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The Changing Office - part 2

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

In Part 1 of this blog we summarised the main factors influencing the office environment now due to Covid-19 and the lockdown.

These are the factors again, summarized:

· Remote working will remain a norm in many sectors and for many teams. Home desk

· People are generally more familiar with and comfortable with using technology for remote working and remote meetings.

· More companies are comfortable with allowing flexible work approaches and work times now.

· Many companies have been forced to downsize their teams and will start downsizing their office space.

· Many employers are opting for outsourced resources because they can staff up or down on demand and keep overheads light. This means the freelance worker just became a potential career choice more than ever.

· Many people find themselves unemployed. A wave of new start-ups and entrepreneurs will emerge from this situation, creating the need for flexible, affordable short-term pockets of space and co-working environments.

· All the above factors point to working lean, supporting local and developing multi-faceted and versatile workplaces and spaces.

How will this impact the office over time?

Let us look at the effects on the office environment in the short term (immediate to 2 years) and mid to long term (2 -10 years and beyond)

The office in the short term:

· Smaller teams, due to remote working and company downsizing, means less space is required. Downsizing may not be possible immediately due to in place lease agreements.

· Social distancing requirements will impact office density, reducing people numbers in any given space by at least 50%, possibly more.

· In companies where some teams will remain remote, the office bound teams will be spread out and into the vacant spaces.

· We envisage this as a ‘make-do’ scenario for the immediate and short term.

· Naturally all the covid-19 regulations will be put in place in offices (scanning, sanitizing, distancing).

Some quick fix solutions are:

o Clear sneeze screens between, and in front of, people at desking

o Clear sneeze screens at all counters.

o Screens between casual seating in waiting areas.

o Sneeze screens in between seats at meeting tables.

o Some furniture will be removed to enforce distancing.

Image above- clear sneeze screens at workstations. A quick fix solution, in addition to distancing

What mid to long term changes can we expect to see in the office space?

Catch the next installment of the blog post: The changing office- Part 3

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