How the coronavirus could change the office of the future

The pandemic could mean the end of hot-desking

TRD NATIONAL /
Apr.April 08, 2020 04:00 PM
When the coronavirus crisis subside, offices could do away with hot-desking (Credit: iStock)

When the coronavirus crisis subside, offices could do away with hot-desking (Credit: iStock)

Most people around the globe have wondered what long-term impacts the coronavirus pandemic could have on their jobs, the economy, and culture.

The verdict is very much out on all those fronts, but some in the real estate industry are already planning for a big change with regard to workplace design and practices, according to the New York Times. On the bright side, that might mean larger and more permanent workspaces for employees.

Office workers will likely see hand sanitizer stations at the front door and possibly limits on the number of people allowed in elevators and small spaces, which could also be upgraded with hands-free access technology.

Companies may phase in employees to offices to avoid packing an office all at once and large in-person meetings could go on hold. RXR Realty’s Scott Rechler said employees may work in the office in alternating groups.

“There could be A teams and B teams working different days,” he told the Times.

In the long term, office layouts could be changed to encourage distancing between colleagues — a reversal of the shrinking of workstations that’s occurred over the last decade or so.

Hot-desking, the practice in which employees aren’t assigned a permanent workspace and simply find a place to work when they arrive at the office, could go out of vogue in the near term to reduce the transfer of germs between employees.

The pandemic could also affect how buildings themselves are designed. Developers may also opt for smoother, more sanitary finishing materials, such as anti-microbial materials traditionally used in hospitals. [NYT] – Dennis Lynch


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