The debate about returning to work in office buildings is at full tilt as building owners have big concerns about how many people are enjoying working from home and what that might mean for leasing space in the very near future. Will your employer downsize? Will hours of operation change? What needs to change right now?
Architects and building owners have identified three top areas of concern in most commercial office buildings:
- How many things you touch as you go from the street to your office; specifically entry doors and elevators
- Air exchange, clean air and surface cleanliness
So, what are the ideas for changing current office spaces to deal with these concerns?
- To make coming to work more positive, built-in heat sensors that measure your temperature as you enter a building could replace the manual temperature taking in use now.
- To eliminate several touch points, doors will have sensors to open automatically and elevators will go on voice command with limited occupancy. Fewer people and no button touching.
- The stairs will now become a feature. Look for carpet, paint and art in these areas to give workers an option to using an elevator. These will have to stay within fire department and evacuation guidelines but offers new options for moving from lobby or floor to floor.
- Walls at your floor landing will be removed as possible, so you enter right into your office, works best for full or multi-floor tenants.
- Air quality and exchange rate will not only be monitored but reported to occupants via an app.
- Outdoor spaces including roof tops and parking lots will be enhanced and wi-fi increased so those areas give a reprieve to being indoors all day.
- Outdoor spaces will include awnings, fans and heaters to accommodate weather issues.
- Bathrooms, especially men’s rooms, will be reconfigured to have individual stalls
- Overall, buildings will have more of a hospitality approach to make coming to work a nicer experience.
One panelist on a recent webinar about this said he believed though many enjoyed being at home, that others found it torture.
“The Wi-Fi, lighting, air conditioning and ability to focus are all better at the office. Add in my ability to be part of my company’s culture and socialize – and we believe people will look forward to coming to their workplace again. After we have a vaccine that is.”
Here is a link to a recent piece in INC. that you might enjoy: https://www.inc.com/kevin-j-ryan/how-office-design-will-change-post-coronavirus.html