During this period, understanding the impact of the workplace on people is even more important than before. Workplace design will help us get through this period faster.
With the advent of the new virus and the implementation of the quarantine period, many changes had a substantial impact on companies and the way they work.
For some people, moving work from the office to home was easy, but others faced various obstacles. We all have been worried about our health, while we must wear masks wherever we go. Soon, everyone will return to work, and companies will have to provide security and meet the expectations of each employee.
For this to be possible, companies will have to reactivate, reorganize, and even redefine working, especially in terms of the space in which employees will have to work.
However, social distancing should not altogether cancel out the term that underlies the community and everyone. In the reorganization of the office spaces, we should also consider the social aspect, to reach not only a safe environment in terms of health but also a friendly environment that ensures the well-being of employees.
This well-being is based on the term SAFETY (physical, mental, and emotional safety). It can be achieved by implementing strict rules within companies that must be supported by both the space organization and the proposed new design.
Why is important to return to the office
During this time, many people worked from home and were quite well for a while. But after a few months of living online, the need to be in the community as well as in a space suitable for the work became apparent. Following some studies, 90% of people want to resume their work from the office.
The advantages of office work:
The office can offer you space and professional means to work.
Teamwork is effective when people get to know each other so that there are relationships based on trust, and this becomes more difficult when communication is done only online. Teamwork leads to innovative ideas and especially increases the quality of projects
Productivity increases when teamwork is possible. Many of us work better and harder when we see others working with us. Also, the increase in productivity is due to the space in which the activity takes place.
The social aspect. Work is a social activity. We share ideas, we make decisions, we communicate, the simple fact that we are surrounded by people gives us an emotional balance.
Balance personal life – office life. Working from home is often more exhausting and time-consuming, being much more difficult to delimit the daily activities from those related to work. We work more efficiently and more organized in a suitable environment.
How can we adapt
Density reduction – giving up some offices, to keep 2 m between people.
Office reorientation – flexibility – to avoid placing two offices face to face
Partition panels – for each office, in front, and on its sides
Individual offices and storage spaces – avoid dividing the office or storage spaces to prevent infection
Disinfection stations – at the entrance to the building/office and in the different sectors of the space
Meetings with a smaller number of participants – for meetings that take place indoors
Meeting spaces replace Meeting rooms – meetings with a larger number of participants to take place in new spaces, special for meetings
Video meetings – involve secluded, individual spaces
Marking the distance – at the floor level
Reconfiguration of shared spaces – spaces for relaxation, kitchens, dining places – rethought according to the new rules
We must consider both the adaptation of the already existing spaces and how we will intervene in the future office spaces.
So, there are two intervention strategies:
The adaptation of existing office spaces
Design of new spaces
DESIGN OF NEW SPACES
Organizing new office spaces according to the new rules that involve distance, should primarily aim at creating flexible office spaces, so that these spaces can receive at a certain time a certain number of new offices, or can be organized differently.
These spaces can be innovative, require creativity, new perceptions, and a different kind of relationship between spaces.
Space becomes at the same time more diluted (by avoiding creating closed rooms leaving room for workspaces) but very organized at the same time.
Office space will remain essentially the same, but its design, organization, and occupation will be different.
They will have to provide a working environment at the same time pleasant but also adequate to the new conditions.
THE KEYWORD THAT SHOULD UNDERLINE THESE CHANGES ARE
These spaces take the place of the conference rooms. They can be visually delimited from the rest of the spaces by placing flexible panels so that this space can take on different dimensions.
Because of the current conditions, most of the meetings will be able to take place online. The individual meeting spaces are created to offer privacy for the good development of the meetings.
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