COVID-19 has dismantled everything we knew about office design. Now, architects and designers are shifting their strategies to emphasize the importance of safety and health.
“These are big issues and concerns driving design these days,” said Amy Sjursen, Director at Architecture with Big Red Rooster. “The dynamics of how people do things and how someone interacts with space has changed in such a short time and will continue to change.”
This new outlook on building design will range beyond physical health. The employee experience is at the front of everyone’s minds as mental health issues continue to rise.
“What started with ramps for people in wheelchairs or braille on elevators signs for the blind has now morphed into a much broader understanding of design empathy,” said Sjursen. “How can we use a holistic approach that anticipates others’ experience and creates an environment that works for everyone’s emotional and physical needs?”
In order to protect employees’ mental health, Sjursen said that obvious changes like increased cleaning and plexiglass dividers highlight just how different things are at the moment, prompting uncomfortable feelings.
However, it is essential to keep workers safe with these reminders. Therefore, companies should support their wellness by offering tools and resources that make handling stress easier and more accessible.