If the quarantine has taught us anything, it’s that many businesses can survive with most of its employees working at home. While a main office is important to any company, the circumstances of the pandemic have led many to wonder if it is safe to work again in a closed space begging the question of whether working in an office is still crucial in today’s climate.
During this quarantine, the work-from-home setup has proven itself to be an acceptable alternative to working in offices. Industries have decided to embrace the digital world in an attempt to adapt to the harsh socio-economic climate that came with the pandemic. Meetings, casual chatting, and even lunch breaks have turned into web conferences.
Work from home has its own pros and cons, though it’s more of an advantage right now given the nature of the virus.
Eventually, the curve will flatten out and the quarantine will be lifted. Even then, companies should redesign their offices for the new normal, aiming for maximum business flexibility. This way, should another crisis come to affect the status quo, they will be ready.
Modern setups are usually more relaxed and open to the idea of a free office. This means a more casual floor layout, with sofas, beanie bags, and a homey ambiance. But now, it would seem that a return to office cubicles is in order.
The modern open office. Well, pre-coronavirus modern.
Office cubicles are usually associated with negative office life aspects. They are often depicted as bland, lifeless, and the source of depression. Given the coronavirus spread, the privacy it offers easily makes the open office setup seem inconsiderable in comparison. Office cubicles may seem linear and archaic, but they are perfect for working while maintaining social distancing.
A modern take on the cubicle setup. Minimalist designs give it more life than the generic ones used in movies like “Office Space”.
Companies should also consider incorporating design elements from healthcare facilities. Public hospitals often try to distance beds from one another to avoid unintended infections from other patients. Offices should do the same with desk setups. Companies should also be mindful of their HVAC systems and comfort rooms, especially for those with a large number of employees. A decent ventilation system can work wonders and can even prevent viruses from living long inside the building.
Air filtration systems are a must in a post-COVID world.
The office design should account for the new normal first above everything else while keeping it as comfortable as possible for employees. Make use of conference rooms and efficient software tools that can aid in connecting employees in the digital space.
Finally, never forget to put worker morale into the equation. The new normal might still be a strange concept to some employees, especially for traditionalists or the technologically impaired. Higher-ups and coworkers should take the time to help them get used to using any new software tools that the company has imposed on its people. This should strengthen the bond between office workers and help them see the digital era in a new light.
No one could have foreseen a world where most forms of physical contact are considered dangerous. Today, we are living in a reality where everyone is forced to sacrifice familiar comforts for health and safety reasons. The old office life is gone, but it will soon change to better suit everyone’s needs. And now that the new normal is here to stay, more changes to our world are likely to follow soon.