How will social distancing change the office configuration

In order to support the return to the office three main areas must be taken into consideration.

Millions of people were challenged to work from home or remotely after the disruptions created during the pandemic and physical distancing norms were established. As many of us plan the transition back to the office the layout will need to be reconfigured. Many of us are wondering how social distancing will change the office configuration.

Multiple conversations are centered around redesigning offices to keep new protocols around social distancing and hygiene. As physical norms, health and safety concerns are elevated, so is the concept of wellness and how it impacts our workspaces.

According to The Washington Post “one of the biggest changes office workers could see is the spacing of desks to maintain distance, ‘every other’ seat arrangements or possible snap-on desk partitions to give employees more of a sense of protection.” We understand design as a great tool to create a better world, one that must evolve and adapt for a changing world.

While existing offices cannot be expanded, efficient planning and design will become a necessity. In order to support the return to the office, three main areas must be taken into consideration:

  1. Transforming the floorplan: Addressing facility requirements, density, and exposure while mitigating risk. The reconfiguration of our workspaces must include places to socialize and collaborate to incorporate social interactions we all long for these days. Meeting and off-site collaborations will need new spaces, as Work Design Magazine explains the new floorplan will “require not only new and different technological needs, but different acoustical needs as well.”
  2. Employee Wellbeing: Supporting people’s physical and psychological health to build confidence and enhance production. The work experience must help people feel good to increase work performance. It is critical for organizations and businesses to understand their employee’s wellbeing must be supported holistically.
  3. Organizational culture: Understanding and preserving your culture to empower your workforce and leverage your space in new ways. OnOffice Magazine explains “the role of the office will continue to evolve – providing space facilitating emotional connection and fostering company culture rather than just a place to work.” We are naturally social animals, and nothing will be able to replace face to face interactions. The office layout will still be designed to support teamwork from a safe social distance.

Each organization and business will approach their new normal challenge in a very different way, depending on their own organizational culture and worker’s needs. In the short and long-term adaptable products allow for quick reconfigurations and cost-effective applications.

Social distancing will be the new normal and at Anthony Allan Office Furnishings we are ready to help you create a solution that best fits your organizational culture as well as it maintains employee wellbeing. We have the expertise and skills to maximize the capacity of your workspace from reconfiguring the floor plan to readjusting the space of ancillary furniture in public areas of the office.

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Winnipeg, MB R3H 1H6
T. 204.949.7680