COVID was harsh on people’s health, but the global economy as well. Many offices had to close down, and the ones that are lucky to keep working need to think about redesigning with the virus in mind. Although the worldwide pandemic was pretty bad for everyone, we got to learn a lot from it.
One of the most important things we learned is that working from home can be very effective. Cycling your workers between working from home and the house can be very beneficial in times of crisis. Read on for smart office design tips to help you get adjusted to the post-COVID times.
1. Make the workspace as sanitary as possible
COVID taught us the importance of cleanliness and minimizing exposure to germs, dirt, and bacteria. Many surfaces in the office are susceptible to spreading disease and germs. They need to be sanitized, or perhaps even removed. For example, stainless steel, wood proper finishes, and unbruised stone are all such dangerous surfaces.
The antibacterial materials are going to be used in office much more frequently after COVID, and they include copper, Crypton, etc. Office items that are shared and often contain many germs will be replaced. A good example would be any remotes, keypads, etc. A simple mobile app can replace most of them anyway.
Elevators and halls will also need to be redesigned. A bunch of smaller elevators seems like a much better option now than having a huge elevator that can take in many people. In general, all parts of the office will need to be less crowded, with better circulation, and more space for everyone.
2. Social distancing in offices
Cubicles in offices will surely be further apart, and all workers will have more space to themselves. The business owners who can afford it should consider creating more open spaces in their office. Some elite companies already have partially outdoor offices, and such office design will surely spread. Now that social distancing is very important, hopefully, people will keep that in mind when planning out office designs.
A good idea for creating some office space many companies have already adopted is sending some workers to work from home. Other employees can have more space in the office, freely increasing the distance between themselves. Some people are more productive at home, so this may increase productivity rather than decreasing it.
Business owners will also need to enforce some workspace rules and maximize its efficiency. Every employee will have to use his or her equipment, such as mouse and keyboard, etc. These are the essential items they need for work. Other stuff, like personal photos, etc. will need to be removed, or at least put away at the end of the workday.
Decluttering is beneficial for every office regardless of the pandemic. It allows for easier cleaning, and offices need to be cleaned more often than ever. Hopefully, we can keep this attitude in the future, so spreading disease and germs in the office is kept at a minimum.
3. Ventilation needs to be improved
All offices will need to take more care and invest in some proper ventilation after COVID. Air purifiers will be seen a lot more, but they are not enough. The airflow needs to be maximized, and that can be done with HVAC systems. Chinese businesses have already installed them to great success.
The office will look a lot more like hospitals in the future. Healthcare facilities have a much smarter design for keeping disease at bay, or least, quarantined. The U.V. light air filtration will also become very popular.
By now, we can agree that the new office design will be costly, but much needed. What is invested in expensive sanitary design will pay off in less day sick days, higher productivity, and overall better functioning of the workplace.
4. Check-in rooms will be a must
Each office has a shared space where human contact is inevitable. Before anyone can enter such space, it will be necessary to sanitize and check their temperature. Everyone should be greeted with a thermometer test and asked if they are completely healthy before stepping the office.
If you are working with other people and feel sick, why not call in sick and take a day if? Conscientiousness needs to be elevated in every workplace, because if we had it, COVID wouldn’t hit us as hard as it did. People should wash their hands before entering the office, and so should other visitors.
This will take some time to get used to, as well as resources, but it’s well worth it in the long run.
5. New must-have office items
Offices are already starting to look different, and who knows what great inventions will come out of this crisis. For example, regular curtains and blinds can be replaced with blockout roller blinds made out of quality materials. They are easy to install, clean, they block the light very effectively, and they last very long.
Panels for separating cubicles will also be regularly used. Workers might even get separate pods to themselves, but that’s yet to be seen. Most importantly, the new important word for any office items will be antibacterial. Most companies will invest in such items, and it’s a smart thing to do.
Offices will also surely have more signs, reminders, and directions throughout. We are yet to see the smartest new designs and what the future has to bring.
Hopefully, post-COVID offices will be more efficient, sanitary, and have more space between workers. Work from home is also going to be much more utilized, even though it takes some planning and coordination.
Apps are going to be used a lot more, whether it’s to replace some old-timey office items, for long-distance communication, or else. Maintenances and sanitary inspections will probably occur more frequently.
Employees should also be freer to use their sick days, even if they aren’t visibly sick and infectious. If nothing, COVID taught us that even people who seem healthy can be infectious and spread the disease to their coworkers.