How the Covid 19 pandemic is reshaping our workplace?
By in Posted July 07, 2020
The onset of Covid 19 sent the majority of the working force to their own homes to work as telecommuters. However, now the nations are easing the lockdowns in phases. So, many companies are looking forward to having their employees back to the floor. But as the world is nowhere near a vaccine or a proper treatment, the challenges of contracting Coronavirus infection still exists. This calls for the need to radically reshaping the office atmosphere.
Redesigning the offices is not an easy task. As people are hyperaware of the persisting health risks, it is the employer’s responsibility to assure the safety and boost the confidence of their staff. Typical office features such as centralized air conditioning, open floor plans, number of working people on a shift, etc are not very likely to protect the people from the disease. The current office floor plans are designed to facilitate employee collaboration. They do not provide any privacy or safe distance and it is all about saving space. As social distancing is crucial in curbing the pandemic, the current workforce cannot be back to the office all at once.
Open offices are not anymore safe for us as there is hardly a four feet distance between the co-workers.
Proximity is now the new yardstick to your safety. Governments may continue to mandate the six feet distance rule, and offices need to comply with this.
Companies and offices are looking for tactical solutions with fewer investments as the major refits can cost a lot of time and manpower. Until the social distancing protocols are relaxed, people need to be physically separated. Some offices are working in shifts to provide the additional space and others are using the huddle rooms as offices. Employers are also interested in the idea of a distributed office where employees work in smaller offices dispersed geographically over a wide area.
The present-day scenario also demands offices to be cleaner, emptier, and properly ventilated. To clean the frequently touched surfaces every day is another challenge. Simple and smart solutions like using paper placemats for desks, creating a one-way flow to minimize transmission, and installing office climate control systems for better ventilation can drastically improve the quality of working conditions.
Experts predict that future offices may have more resemblance to a hospital with hygiene stations, signage indicating direct routes, separated seats, and more automation.
But the real question here is will there be actual offices after the pandemic? It seems that at least a small portion of home workers may continue to work from home even after the pandemic. Currently, it is the best way to avoid transport rush-hours and other chances of community spread of the infection. It is also cost-effective for the employer. Even if COVID 19 vaccines are made available the pandemic will have lasting impacts on the way we work and commute.