We know that the coronavirus will change the way office space looks and works going forward. Working from home doesn’t appeal to the entire workforce, and there will be many people looking forward to a return to ‘normality.’
In order to make sure that this return to ‘normal’ is safe and planned, the office space as we know it will most likely adapt and change due to the current pandemic and with no vaccine on the cards just yet.
When it comes to the effect on flexible working spaces such as ours, Vox says that: “Experts say there will certainly be an acceleration of existing trends in office real estate, including a move away from traditional 10-year leases for shorter ones or for flexible or coworking space.”
But in order to make sure our flexible working spaces are safe going forward, here are some of the ways we envision improvements will be made in the not so distant future in our industry:
A no-visitor policy
To keep employees safe, the first rule should be to implement a no-visitor policy. Authorised personnel should be in the office only, meaning that your staff are not coming into contact with people other than their colleagues.
This way it easier to trace who has been in contact with whom in the case of an employee suffering coronavirus symptoms.
Non Physical Greetings
Gone are the days of shaking hands, hugs or fist-pumping. Greetings should be non-physical when interacting with other staff members. This includes observing the two-metre rule at all times and avoiding congregating in communal areas.
Although this may feel alien to those in a business setting, it’s integral that this rule is upheld.
A rota or scheduled shift pattern
In order to keep the amount of staff inside the office at one time down, there should be flexible work hours introduced or reduced hours so that there are fewer employees on site.
This could be done by staggering shifts and creating a rota.
Where possible, space between desk spaces or cubicles should be increased. If able, partitions should be used to segregate workspaces. Seating arrangements will need to be planned and re-organised.
If possible, having fresh air flow through the office space should be utilised where possible instead of an air conditioning unit.
Work meetings should be kept to a minimum and only contain people that are absolutely necessary to be in the meeting. Two metres between each staff member should be respected and the room should be aired if possible. Virtual meetings should be used where possible.
Disinfecting surfaces, equipment and tools should be done regularly. Where possible doors should be kept open to minimise door handles being touched or doors requiring being pushed open.
Hand sanitiser should be available in every room of the office and instructions for thorough hand washing in communal areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
If customers or clients need to collect items from your office space, there should be a designated time for each customer or client, and items should be left outside or somewhere they’re unlikely to come into contact with staff members.
All in all, it’s important to note that although things may never return to the ‘normal’ we were used to.
Vox recently said: “The uncertainty the coronavirus brings could cause more companies to look for flexible space that can accommodate rapid changes in their needs. Coworking spaces can also provide office environments for newly remote workers who choose to work outside the office.”
Although working from home might have made many people around the world realise they would like more flexible working rather than a stagnant 9-5 in the office, it has also had many people eager to return to office space.