When entering Cushman & Wakefield’s Amsterdam office, employees are met with a very different experience than just three months ago.
Now, employees must secure a designated work area through an app that assigns them to a sanitized desk. Floors are laden with giant blue arrows to encourage one-way traffic, while signs remind occupants to stay physically distanced and use hand sanitizer.
“It’s really about changing the behavior of people who have walked into the same office for years,” said Jeroen Lokerse, head of Cushman’s Netherlands office. “Rearranging the floor layout or carpets can immediately change the behavior of people and what is a comfortable zone to be in.”
The 35,000 square foot workplace has become the testing grounds for the company’s “6 Feet Office” experiment that hopes to perfect returning to the workplace. Cushman has received hundreds of inquiries from businesses about reconfiguring spaces to meet the changing needs of today’s society. The kicker is, this could lead to decreased takeup of office space, which means less business for real estate firms like Cushman.
So far, the company has helped guide many businesses in China back into the office, but the country’s heavy government monitoring may not be applicable elsewhere.
Cushman added that it is advising clients in high-rise office towers to limit the number of workers within the space in order to address coronavirus risks, allow for staggered work shifts and encourage some to continue working from home.
Another option to make operations run smoother is to adopt flexible office spaces rather than uprooting the entire core office.