The past few years have seen offices adopt more open environments that allow workers to closely collaborate together, but in the age of coronavirus, this newer model could take a hit.
With the average office space per worker being about 120 square feet last year, developers and employers are reevaluating the open layout. This could lead coworking and shared offices to rethink how they will operate as well.
“What happens to all the 5-foot benches if we have 6-foot social distance requirements?” said Paul Manno, a principal at architecture firm Gensler’s Dallas office. “There is a rethink of assigned and unassigned seating.”
For instance, Jason McCann who is CEO of office furnishings and workspace firm Vari, said the company is planning to add more walls to enclose open areas, create more space between workstations and implement privacy panels at its headquarters.
“In addition to social distancing, enhanced cleaning procedures and clear communication will be important,” said Lindsay Wilson, president at architecture firm Corgan. “At Corgan, we are collaborating across our market sectors to apply what we are learning from airports, schools, hospitals and workplaces into a consolidated approach for post-pandemic planning.”
Wilson added that it is the role of employers to ensure their staff feels secure within their office, so it is important to make the necessary changes that keeps them safe.