Excerpt from Cincinnati Enquirer article dated May 3, 2020.
The modern office was designed to open cramped workspaces to promote creativity, collaboration and more productive interactions. At the same time, open offices have created more pathways for viruses and other pathogens to spread, which some fear may lead to a new spike in deadly COVID-19 cases when Ohio office workers begin returning to their workstations.
That has led a lot of firms to upgrade their IT infrastructure to better accommodate employees working remotely, said Jeff Evans, Senior Vice President of KZF Design in downtown Cincinnati.
And many of those same companies are beginning to reconsider the need for large group meetings and other face-to-face interactions.
Companies are beginning to discover that a lot of the meetings they thought were critical to have in person can be done via online platforms like Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams and be just as effective, according to Jeff Evans, who handles private office clients for the architecture, engineering, interior design and planning firm KZF Design.
Jeff thinks virtual meetings will eventually become the norm, diminishing the need for conference rooms and other physical office space.
“We’re not seeing anything yet where clients are saying we’re not going to build offices anymore or we need to downsize our office project from where we thought it was going to be,” he said. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened, and we ultimately had to rely on more work-from-home environments.’”
Read the complete story here: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2020/05/03/covid-19-safe-go-back-office-experts-still-cautious/3041577001/
In addition, we anticipate the possibility of larger changes to design strategies for the office:
- Increased circulation space, wider corridors, and workstation rows that allow through traffic and not dead ends.
- Limiting seating to only one guest chair in a single office.
- Larger company meeting spaces with fewer seats.
- Enhanced videoconferencing for internal employee meetings.
- Visual cues in flooring materials indicating physical distancing.
- Workstations located farther apart and partitions between workstations
- Enhanced acoustic privacy in open plan areas of the office to improve voice and video conferencing from an individual’s desk (i.e. looking for the perfect “cone of silence”).
- Enhanced mechanical systems (ultraviolet light cleaning, increased ventilation rates, increased percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system).
- Working with surfaces and materials that are naturally or manufactured to be antimicrobial, and highly-durable to cleaning.
Are you ready to design a better future for your workplace?
We’re available to review your workplace plans and suggest improvements. Speak to our workplace expert, Jeff Evans, to discuss your workplace strategy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 513.621.6211.
Nothing herein constitutes legal advice or other formal direction or guidance of any kind. The information herein is offered for general informational purposes only.