Over the last five months, Coronavirus has spread in the world like a wildfire, affecting the lives of every human being on this planet and disrupting global markets. Professionals are still trying to wrap their heads around the “new normal”. If not anything, this pandemic has taught us the importance of interior design. Enterprises have stopped cutting corners and now finding ways to redesign spaces that will put well-being, safety and hygiene at the heart of workplace planning.
Earlier designers and researchers emphasized on co-working, open-floor configurations, team-based offices, real-estate efficiency and flexibility. Now, perpetual discussions are going on and some specialists believe that the aforementioned trends will not work in the wake of the pandemic.
As India is cautiously relaxing the mandates, companies are pivoting to the fresh changes and working tirelessly to provide professionals – a safe return to their desks. However, the workplaces will not be the same as they left it in the pre-pandemic month. These new changes will include the short-term tweaks like limiting the number of employees in the office and the long-term design upgrades where health will take a center stage.
Initially, it will feel bizarre to see your workers in masks and face covers, maintaining a physical distance from each other – meaning no high fives, fist bumps, pats on the back, hugs and handshakes. It will become a little lonely as some of your team members will still be working from home. Eventually, you will accept the new normal as we know that this situation will change the way we work forever. It will also be a moment for enterprises to look at the silver lining and make the workplace better than it was before the global crisis.
In this blog, we are sharing the biggest changes that the workplace will see and how they will change the way you work and your perspectives. Let’s dive in!
Explosive demand for WFH solutions
Companies are extending the WFH orders for a good portion of their manpower. Some are doing it because they are opening in phases and want to reduce the density while other companies are embracing the idea of telecommuting. For instance, Facebook is setting an example for others as 50% of its staff will be working from home in the next 10 years. Similarly, Shopify CEO announced that for them, the office centricity is over and allowed WFH permanently.
As per Global workplace analytics, 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. These major changes have induced a massive demand for WFH solutions. Professionals now want to design a designated workspace at home with the right ergonomic chair, desks and equipment.
Enhanced safety and health standards
Pandemic proofing of offices will require companies to reevaluate their health and safety standards. The new office design will have fewer number of touchpoints meaning the reduction in the number of contact surfaces. With that, they will have to enhance cleanliness measures. Routinely disinfect the entire workspace and reinforce all employees to wash their hands. Besides that, the employers should have an open dialogue with the employees and ask them what they can do to make the office a safe space for everyone.
The current situation has turned the once-bustling spaces into a deserted space. To get back to the old days, employers will have to revamp and optimize it. They will have to make social distancing comfortable by incorporating glass screens. These screens will block the sneeze and cough particles and protect the employees from airborne pathogens. The cubicles will make a comeback and furniture will not only be placed to please the eyes but to comfort the body.
Business travels have been stopped, so companies need a high-tech conference room with all the top-notch equipment, to accommodate the meeting needs. Now more than ever, technology will be merged deeper into the workplace design to reduce the chances of contact. Virtual workplaces will bring a new sense of belonging in the coming days.
Real estate rentals and smart offices
Twitter and Google switched to remote workspace until the end of this year. Many enterprises have started following in their footsteps and going completely digital. It will aid in avoiding the significant office overheads – like expensive real estate, electricity expenses and maintenance.
Furthermore, with the contagious nature of this virus, people are hesitant to touch surfaces in buildings like lift buttons, doorknobs, switches and glasses. So, in the coming months, buildings will become smart with touchless automation facilities like phone-controlled doors locks, smart switches, voice-activated lifts, hands-free doors and many more.
Covid-19 is like the genie in the bottle, it has come out without any warning and now we don’t know when it will go back in. So, look before you leap and find out the best ways to make your office a safe place because a stitch in time saves nine!
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