Our last blog entry explored changes that restaurant construction may undergo in response to COVID-19. Of course, we know multiple industries across the globe and country are facing new challenges and adapting their operations in the face of the public health crisis. Even now, we hear about more and more businesses returning to their workplaces with new safety and health precautions put in place. So, this begs the question: what will office construction and design look like moving forward? Here are some ways the approach to office construction and design might change.
Barriers in Favor Again
The open-office concept was undoubtedly a prevalent influence on most office construction and design projects. However, the tone has mostly shifted to a more closed off and compartmentalized approach to setting up a workplace. Room dividers, high-walled cubicles, and other easy-to-clean partitions are being implemented to provide a physical barrier between people and each other’s germs. This isn’t an entirely negative redesign; some people have long advocated for these barriers and desk partitions to return to the modern office. Some employees prefer having a physical structure block out noise and visual disruptions to their focused work.
Rethinking the Stairwell
If you walk into most multi-story professional buildings, the lobby most likely directs you to the elevators. New office construction and design won’t necessarily detract from the necessity of elevators and making them a central element of an office building. But, we can expect more properties to rethink their stairwell. Instead of treating the stairs as a second-rate method of getting to different floors, people are more likely to put in a few more steps to avoid the close confines of a crowded elevator cab. Space-allowing in buildings, stairs can be an architectural statement to any office interior. Certainly, stairs won’t erase the need for elevators. But, we can expect more projects to prioritize stairwell design and placement in upcoming projects.
Make Sparse for Social Distancing
If office construction and design do end up looking mostly unchanged, you can at least expect some differences when using the layout. In most cases, offices have removed furniture and structures that would typically encourage gathering or hanging around. Workstations and desks have been reduced and dispersed to accommodate lower occupancy and 6 feet social distancing guidelines. Even collaborative spaces like conference rooms are being repurposed for individual workers in an effort to keep employees adequately set up apart from one another.
Encore Construction recently completed a renovation project for Western Union offices in Washington, DC. Find out more project details by checking out the update, or by joining our email list!
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