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