Does Covid-19 mean the end of open floor office?

By Sabarno De

As the world is steering via powerful instances, the manners of our residing and dealing are being taken a second take a look at. Speaking principally about the office conventions, as an architect and designer, I personally don’t consider that that is the full end of the open floor workplace design. Humans have developed and the nature and magnificence of working has additionally developed over the years, however this doesn’t necessitate an in a single day change in the design of the workspace.
But of course, different modifications in design are foreseen in the close to future. The approach one is functioning in the workplace itself will likely be altered. Right from the workplace panorama to the behavioral features of the staff – every side will likely be relooked at. Prior to the onset of the lockdown, one thing that all of us deemed not possible or pointless grew to become a actuality in a single day – a 100 % ‘Work from Home’ tradition.

All myths regarding it have been busted and it grew to become technically potential. Large IT firms akin to the Tata Consultancy Services are believed to be shifting 75% for his or her workforce to work at home by 2025, having realized the feasibility and technological viability of the similar. Conversing with some of our purchasers, I noticed that almost all sectors (aside from the manufacturing sector) akin to the BFSI and IT will facilitate a work at home mannequin even after the lockdown is lifted.

This is predicted to be the new norm. Currently, as per the authorities mandate, a 33% workforce is allowed in any office; as soon as the lockdown is lifted possibly this might go as much as 50% which will likely be the new regular for the subsequent one to 2 years, as I see it. Having mentioned that, a 50% capability doesn’t consult with 50% of the staff working from residence and the different half working in the workplace. It merely implies that versatile timings and good scheduling will likely be put in place.

Since, loads of places of work and sectors require in-person interplay and assist to allow easy operations; all staff will likely be current in the workplace however at diversified timings. For easy understanding, a sure division or set of staff could have their work timings from 7 am to 11 am and the subsequent set of folks to be reporting put up that. At the similar time, not all staff could also be anticipated to report back to the workplace on a regular basis however be accessible on a necessity foundation, relying on the business of work. In such instances, the staff shall work at home and report back to the workplace a couple of times per week.

When much less is extra
Operations and logistics for the similar should be labored out however that is anticipated to be the new regular. Maintaining a bodily distance of 6 ft goes to be an important issue and can govern the design of new and present workplace areas. It is a standard false impression that lesser density would require lesser floor space.

The density although will lower, the floor space of an workplace area won’t, since the regulation of a 6 ft distance must be maintained. Hence, even when an workplace is functioning with 50% workers, I don’t see a major change in the floor space because of the distancing norms.

Design of the workplace layouts will see alterations pertaining to the habits and motion of folks inside the area. The goal will likely be to reduce overlapping of transition and motion aisles and lobbies. One resolution might be planning completely different lobbies for entry and exit.

New partitions
There are going to be important modifications in the design of the office furnishings. At least for the subsequent one to 2 years, till a vaccine is developed for the coronavirus and herd immunity is ready in, the design of our workspaces will see fairly the transition – taller partitions between workstations as seen in earlier workplace designs, work desks of bigger sizes and fewer occupancy, partitions that go up as in comparison with the present requirements of top, and so forth. will likely be some of the new parts added to the present and upcoming workplace areas.

This doesn’t mean that cubicles or workstations will likely be enclosed or opaque. Transparent, acrylic surfaces (for partitions) can be utilized to take care of a direct visible connection and a way of openness. The definition of a gathering room will change utterly. People could not want to sit down in an enclosed area with a big group for a very long time.

This will result in discussions and conferences happening in open areas. In all of these situations, technology performs an especially, most likely the most significant position. Sharing from private expertise, we’re at present engaged on initiatives the place our dialogue on the design ideas is happening nearly. We are concerned in discussions with folks residing in varied areas throughout the globe – New York, London, Bengaluru, Pune, and so forth. Under regular circumstances, the groups from these areas would have travelled to India, stayed right here for seven to 10 days, flown again after which visited once more in a pair of months or so. However, presently, we’re all capable of join digitally and work is progressing satisfactorily.

Technology, as talked about earlier has a key position to play. Along with desktops, different devices/instruments akin to headsets and cameras could should be supplied at each desk. Someone sitting in the workplace may join visually and verbally (of course, nearly) with somebody working from residence. I don’t see us going again to earlier than the 90s with closed, hierarchical chambers and cabins, although our methods and areas of work will certainly change, with protecting and security measures in place.

Sabarno De is Vertical Head, Corporate Interiors, Edifice Consultants Pvt. Ltd.

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