Predictions for workspaces in a post-covid-19 future 

As the world sits in utter bewilderment during the COVID-19 crisis, some clever people are already planning for a post-virus future. As the old saying goes, “there are two kinds of people in a crisis: those who cry and those who sell tissues”. This is what the pundits predict will have to change to accommodate the implications of the virus.

Physical and Virtual Security Measures

Evidence garnered over the last few months, indicates that our future may involve a lot more remote working – which implies an increased reliance on digital technologies. This has cybersecurity implications in terms of how we manage employees on our networks and systems to ensure that opportunistic hackers don’t get access to digital assets. Zoom meetings are being hacked, VPN subscriptions are through the roof and scams, like Coronavirus-related phishing emails, abound. Experts predict that the cybersecurity industry will thrive during and post the Coronavirus, despite the imminent global recession.

Furthermore, we predict that physical security measures will have to be reconfigured to become entirely contactless, especially when it comes to heavily trafficked surfaces such as keypads and door handles. Biometric identification is an ideal solution to vulnerable(?) access points as it also makes passwords and PINs redundant. The real benefit of investing in contactless authentication measures, is the fact that you don’t have 50 people per day all touching the same keypads.

Office and Space Design

Gone are the days of cramming staff members into a maze of small cubicles with inadequate ventilation. Smart companies are now exploring ways in which to improve office hygiene and stop the spread of diseases before they start. Some recent innovations include sanitisation checkpoints before entering and exiting work spaces. “I do think this is going to reshape the workplace,” Janet Pogue-McLaurin, principal and workplace leader at design and architecture firm Gensler, told Recode. “Social distance thinking may be part of our DNA moving forward. Densification will take a hiatus,” Pogue-McLaurin said. “We’ll shift to, ‘How do we de-densify to create the physical distancing that we now need to have?’”

A US firm, Cushman & Wakefield, has pioneered a new design concept called “Six Feet Office” . It uses unique foot traffic routing measures to keep people the recommended six feet apart. Which we’re sure is just the beginning of this type of architectural and commercial property services innovation.

How We Interact Will Change

Imagine walking into a meeting post-COVID and hugging or shaking hands with everyone. Struggling? So are we. Everything from office etiquette to meeting protocols will change. Given the expected increase in permanent remote-working employees, many hybrid virtual and physical meetings may feature an unexpected yelp from a child or a doorbell that needs to be answered. Meetings may even become less formal and, ironically, more human, and empathetic, in the years to come.

Someone will surely have to find a solution to the “Can you hear me now?” problem as we increasingly opt for the internet. Surely, there has to be a way to get onto a video-call and have the tech work the first time …

Have you given thought to what your office space should look like when work resumes? 

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