PUBLISHED Jun. 15, 2020
Workplaces are in many ways our second home and we deliberately design offices with full attention due to the fact we spend almost half of our life there with colleagues. Contemporary workplaces are intended as places to develop high aims with creative, solutions driven focus where productivity and successful outcomes flow. Since the COVID-19 break out around the world has become pandemic, people are now predicting the post-disease effects on the workplaces. Therefore designing for the future will be based on safety policies and redefining how to utilize the workplace for years to come.
The advancement of office design was started in the 1960s as an experiment with democratic layouts of the new standard, endless rows of work stations, and collaboration. The trend was to put everything on emphasis at one single place by using the formula of ‘one size fits all’ a German approach. Between this and the later concept of alternative seating options, workplaces increased social interactions of staff members.
The modern design of offices now referred to these two models by describing original principles. The organizations changed their strategies regarding office design after 20 years and focused on the profitability of the investment. More recently new technologies and greater emphasis on communication paved the path for new desks styles, less walls and open spaced updated office designs.
COVID-19 has destroyed the office design and there are now predictions of walled cubicle mazes to enforce social distancing or working from home. Moreover, everything is designed according to the current situation like (workplace trends, human factors in design, and the potential for technology). All these affect work styles and can have a great reconsideration of future offices.
COVID-19 has also provided the opportunity for people to reinvent the workplace by designing offices to give healthier and yet dynamic workstations. So the new policies that have been introduced with a return to the workplace combined with new technology to allow working remotely will impact our overall lifestyles. Now people can work from home and the future spaces will be facilitated with only necessary interactions. In the pandemic situation working from home will be easier to stay connected to the office staff in a less formal setting.
Working from home is basically in favor of employees as they are experiencing flexibility rather than the office environment where they perform duties full time. People may be called back to the offices once everything is all right or in control, but this experience has reclaimed opportunities for impromptu collaboration. However for employers, there may be less requirement for substantial office space and therefore be beneficial with less rental overheads. Perhaps this knock on effect could extend to urban density and the necessity for commuting, where working from home becomes much more common.
The workplaces will be redesigned with different strategies of working, reinventing cafes, and collaboration hubs. Because of the pandemic situation, it offers us to make the right changes to our working environment and to get avail of the opportunities to redesign offices. As architects we look to stay aware of how the work style is changing and look for pioneering ways in which buildings can be designed to nurture the best ways for our new ways of living and working.