What does the post-pandemic office look like?
Have you considered changes, big and small, to your office for the gradual return of your employees? Don’t get too lost in the details or you risk forgetting the objective.
“Benching” and “hot-desking” are out. Temperature checks, hand sanitizers and the removal of seats in common areas are in. Huge buffets in cafeterias are out, while pre-packaged, single-serving items are in. The parameters of the post-pandemic office are being dictated by the laws of social distancing. The world is moving away from open-space arrangements that were meant to benefit collective creativity and collaboration and back toward, yes, cubicles.
But health experts warn that you can’t expect your risk to go down to zero. If you focus too much on office design, you may forget that the best way to reduce disease transmission is through office policy: encourage sick employees to stay home and allow telecommuting, when possible. Even after the pandemic fades, working from home will remain a major trend, analysts predict. Says Evernote general counsel Susan Stick, “We can’t put the genie back into the bottle.”
To go further:
“The Pandemic May Mean the End of the Open-Floor Office” by Matt Richtel, The New York Times, 4 May 2020.
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