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The New 6 Feet Office

As many prepare to head back to the office, we can all expect many changes. Sadly, one of those changes will be team members who may not be coming back at all. In some cases, employees may remain working remote. So, what are some of the changes employees and companies can expect as the workforce starts the new norm?

Across the US, office buildings and office spaces will need to better prepare for our new world. Some of the things you may encounter, if not already in place, will be:

-Doors opening automatically as you enter buildings

-Voice activated elevators

-Well-spaced private spaces vs. open floor plans

-Fewer chairs and gathering places

-Increased posted documentation

-Frequent and stricter cleaning policies

-Antimicrobial properties woven into fabrics and materials

-Better ventilation systems

-UV lights for deeper disinfecting at night

The Covid-19 crisis will force changes in commercial real estate and the work culture. Both, property owners and companies, will have to work together to make the appropriate changes to ensure people feel safe while running their operations.

Stated in a recent article by Vox, “According to a new MIT report 34% percent of Americans who previously commuted to work report that they were working from home by the first week of April due to the coronavirus. That’s the same percentage of people who can work from home, according to a recent University of Chicago publication.” Prior to the pandemic, statistics show only about 4% of the population was working remote, but that number was increasing.

Does this mean office space that companies need will remain the same? If you consider the possibility of employees spreading out more when they come back to the office, while some remain at home, does this create a wash? I guess that ultimately depends if the workforce of each company remains the same or declines.

There are pros and cons to each side of the discussion. Some feel productivity has really suffered and will continue to suffer if the large number of employees work from home. Others believe with the right policies and procedures; their employees will be more productive and safer at home.

I don’t know about you, but many people have missed the human interaction and the ease of having employees all together to accomplish goals and to get the job done.

Time will tell what the new office really looks like. We can all agree, there will be many changes. Will this ultimately be the reverse of the ever-growing open office trend? Doing more with less space might just come to an end.

Jason Kennon

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