Welcome to The New Office.
What will the office look like post-COVID? Since the pandemic has made a “new normal”, we share our thoughts on how the office space has changed.
The office environment is a shared space. Everyone needs to be able to use it efficiently, kindly and most importantly safely.
Traditionally an office is an organised professional arena. Each person has their desk, each desk has a department or an office, and everyone shares communal spaces like bathrooms and kitchens and meeting rooms.
Since the pandemic has changed our approach to all our public spaces (and sometimes to our private ones as well) we wanted to look at how the office is now a changed domain.
Some of these changes save money and are simple and quick to introduce - but others may be more timely and costly.
So what does this look like? What is the future of the traditional workplace?
Flexible Office Hours
Allowing everyone to work from home, if they can, will be the new norm. This is the most significant step for the work space to become a safer place. If a person wants to or needs to go into the office, they can, but a flexible working week means the number of persons using the space is decreased, meaning the chance of infection is greatly reduced.
With online technologies constantly improving, workers will be able to complete most of their work tasks online. Joining a virtual meeting or sharing a digital document will be the norm. All forms of paperwork will be eliminated and face to face meetings will be kept to a minimum.
A one way system will be introduced to the office space. Everyone must adhere to social distancing rules and to make this happen, there should be a one way flow system to every office - e.g. you walk down the left hand side of the staircase and walk up the right hand side.
Many appliances in the workplace will become hands-free. All doors will be sensitive to your presence and open without a push or pull. Taps, toilets and hand dryers will not require touch to make them work. Each person will have to purchase their lunch on the day. If not possible their lunch will be brought in a cooler bag, and the microwave must be sanitised before and after each use.
The Use of AI
Artificial Intelligence technology will assist in stopping the spread of the virus. Using facial recognition to enter the building will be used to decrease the risk of persons touching doors and spreading the disease. This will also assist with track and trace where necessary.
The number of persons in the office will be kept to a minimum. With flexible hours professionals can work from home and only come into the office when necessary. Specific places within the office will be limited to a set number of people. Each room must be assessed and a minimum number of persons will be decided in order to maintain social distancing.
Minimising Shared Spaces
Communal spaces will be stopped or minimised to decrease the possibility of the spread of disease. Controlling these spaces will decrease the chance of there being any cross contamination should someone get the virus. The use of shared “break room” spaces or “hot desks” will be reduced and social distancing measures and regular sanitising procedures must be put in place in these areas.