What are the vital changes that need to be implemented, due to Covid-19, for company offices to safely receive back their employees?
One of the elements that the pandemic has admittedly highlighted is that much of the office activity can be transferred home just as effectively. And indeed, few feel “nostalgic” to return to the daily traffic jam that accompanies our commute to work.
However, the consolidation of work from home in our lives highlighted, at the same time, its apparent limitations. Proving that an organization’s success still depends on face-to-face cooperation between its members, with the office remaining a necessary core of any critical activity.
This finding concerns the office as a concept. As a matter of reality, the office will never – after the end of the pandemic – return to the same form and layout that it had before. Several companies abroad have already understood it, immediately making the necessary adjustments and renovations to achieve the new functionality at the dawn of the new regularity we are going through.
Another paradox is that while the pandemic in the short term will theoretically lead to a reduction in the necessary square meters needed for a company to operate since part of its staff will be on permanent work from home status, in the long run, its needs for additional space will be more significant to meet the new health guidelines.
In both cases, the renovation of the business premises becomes a one-way street and an urgent priority. With business leaders called upon to find the solution to the intractable equation of what they need to do to make the most of their space and their employees’ time. Obviously, each space is unique, and each business has its own needs, which you must consider when planning the renovation. Those standard features that emerge are the following:
Flexible working environment
Considering that in the future, a large portion of the staff may work from home on certain days, companies should take into account in their plans that any given space at their disposal may not be filled with the same people at the same time. Hence it is necessary to invest in hotdesking , devoting specific work desks to the people who will take turns in them. Equipping them, also, technologically with the ability to have easy access to shared files and everything else they need for their smooth operation.
Remodelling meeting rooms
The era of large and luxurious meeting rooms, in which it was possible to gather most employees, seems to be over. According to the relevant research, those spaces, which were rarely used effectively anyway, will give way to smaller meeting rooms with brainstorming multi-purpose logic that, depending on the requirements, can be used either for meetings or as supplementary work desks.
Open Space Offices
Except for the company’s critical staff (president and senior executives), for whom the need for a closed personal office continues to apply, all other offices are likely to fit into the broader open space philosophy. Either in the same logic, we knew all these years or with the addition of phone booths (small personal offices from Plexiglass in the shape of enlarged telephone booths). A necessary condition for each office is to have the required distance from the other, both for health and purely psychological reasons. Something that was not currently the case with companies – for financial reasons – tending to place one office next to the other.
Excellent and frequent workplace ventilation is now and will continue to be a key priority for any business in the coming years. In terms of renovation, it translates into full utilization of the windows that each space has and the removal of spaces and offices that do not have access to it, with the possible exception of specialized isolation areas for those employees who may show symptoms of illness.