As many of us are returning to the office, the threat of the pandemic still looms in the background. We are all learning first-hand how to adapt to a world dominated by social distancing and quarantines. Our once busy offices are now vacant shells, reminding us of the strangeness and uncertainty of the moment we’re in.
The impact of the Covid-19 will be transformative to office design. It doesn’t mean that we’re bidding goodbye to the open concept office.But we must be intuitive and mindful when creating spaces for the workforce to ensure great spatial choreography. A number of companies are now reopening their offices, with no upgrade in sight (at least not right now). We can take a cue from companies in China and South Korea that have seamlessly integrated tech in their workplaces.
PADS4 claim to offer “solutions to help organizations create a Covid-19 proof environment, where social distancing, occupancy and crowd management aremandatory”. They have a range of products like the Crystal CMS that enables you to inform your staff of new regulations in real time. Workspace booking andoveviews are also possible to ensure that the office capacity is not maxedout. GoBright also has workarounds for the desk bookings to check the occupation status ofworkspaces.
Contactless temperature monitoring equipment can be placed at the entrance of the office. This is critical to re-open or keep open factories, buildings, construction sites, businesses or facilities of any kind.With the help of an AI thermal camera, the temperature of staff can be screened at the door before they enter the workspace. Although, this is just an estimation as it does not have the accuracy of medical grade systems.
One big concept that has made its way to the head of the home automation field is voice-activated commands to help us with our daily tasks. Voice-activated doors have also been in the market for a while and can be easily implemented in offices to ensure employees have minimal contact on open surfaces.
While some have already started penning obituaries for physical office space and work life as we know it. It is riskier to bet against the value of shared spaces. It’s part and parcel of how we commune and collaborate. While many organizations will be looking to down-size their real estate costs, other will be looking to upgrade their workplaces to meet the fast-evolving landscape.