With the pandemic affecting our everyday lives, new countermeasures like social distancing have been put in place. This has affected how the office space is designed and how many people can work in the same area. For example, companies have started designing offices that can be partitioned off, so teams of employees can work on different tasks without interacting with one another when they need to share ideas or brainstorm.
COVID-19 has also changed how large open spaces are designed because it's now a health risk for workers who might not realise they're infectious. This means there's no more sitting together at lunchtime or just casually getting up from your desk to chat with someone next door. All interactions between team members must take place within designated meeting rooms.
Additionally, organisations are now having their staff work remotely, which has affected interior design companies. Most of these companies had to close their outlets which harms their sales and profit margins. Fortunately, with lockdown in place and the Covid-19 vaccine already being rolled out, the interior design industry is starting to boom again.
Design-driven businesses that invest heavily in design, innovation, and technology stand a higher chance to thrive even in a pandemic. There is a massive opportunity in people's office spaces, either at home or at the workplace. People crave the office's community, connectivity, and creativity; thus, customers will spend more time in their homes than on entertainment or travel.
What is the Future of the Office Space as Employees Readjust?
Since the pandemic and implementation of the Work From Home model, interior design companies have seen the demand for work-from-home solutions skyrocket. As a result, these companies are moving aggressively in this direction to meet the demand and supply.
The companies have also partnered with e-commerce companies to assist in their sales and marketing strategies. However, very soon, things will get back to normal and have employees get back to work. As such, the interior designers are working closely with companies to offer designs that are Covid-19 friendly, with social distancing strategies in place.
Will the Workplace Go Away Due to the Pandemic?
The workplace will not go away! There are so many benefits that workplaces offer employees and companies at large. The mix of connectivity, community, spontaneity, and culture is irreplaceable.
Business owners are already in talks with interior designers to provide office designs that are Covid-19 compliant. Currently, for employees to go back to the office, business owners need to re-orient circulation, reorganise space and provide screens for space delineation.
This phase will be followed by a shift in overall office design, exploring gathering and meeting areas. For instance, working in an open freestanding architectural structure, surrounded by individual and lounge areas, designed to facilitate enhanced airflow and distancing, will result in a much healthier environment overall.
Protective and Social Distancing Measures Needed and How Interior Designs Comes into Play
Companies and organisations need to maintain the highest levels of health and safety to prevent their employees from contracting the deadly virus. With the traditional office settings, this might not be possible as employees need to observe social distancing.
Business owners and managers must work together with interior designers to design their office spaces encompassing protective and social distancing measures. The workplace will need to have an accessible, open entryway with generous circulation paths. To prevent overcrowding in the elevators, internal stairs can be used as an alternative.
The design should also include group places and areas for people who want to be alone and unwind. These office spaces and settings should also have the latest technology to connect coworkers in the office with those working remotely. This will help all the employees keep in touch and also facilitate fast communication.
Coworking spaces have also been on the rise over the last few years, but the pandemic also disrupted them. As a result, some coworking spaces have already started to redesign their layout, but some are yet to begin.
Coworking spaces with one or few workers are already well-adjusted, but densely populated open places need to be revamped and reimagined just like traditional office spaces. There is great potential for the coworking spaces as they may be underutilised by incubator-type businesses but could be used by already established companies looking for more office spaces to keep social distancing in check.
What Are the Possibilities Interior Designers See During the Pandemic?
It's still uncertain how long the pandemic will last, but people are starting to gravitate towards the office's comfortable, collaborative, and welcoming areas with the introduction of the vaccine. Even before the pandemic, people always tailored their offices to feel more like home by opting for designs that support a "resimercial" experience.
Interior designers offering office solutions are also designing offices to make them feel more like home. With remote working, companies have saved a lot as they have cut down on operational costs like electricity and rent. Most of these organisations and companies have acknowledged that working from home might be more of a permanent part of their mix.
However, not everyone can focus on work efficiently at home. Business owners have realised that work from home is marred with ergonomics, social isolation, and wellness. Interior designers believe that work styles and spaces will undoubtedly change due to the pandemic. However, inspiring spaces where people can work efficiently will remain vital to the creativity and ingenuity of teams and individuals.
With Covid-19 still wreaking havoc across all sectors of the economy, people have been forced to readjust how they lead their daily lives. One of the countermeasures to combat its spread is social distancing, and companies are redesigning their office spaces to keep their employees safe. The interior design industry has seen a change in their clients' demands, with business owners opting for more Covid-19 friendly office designs. The designs feature open spaces with a free flow of air and minimal employees to allow for social distancing. At NORNORM, we specialise in designing high-quality modern working spaces that suit all your needs. Contact us today to get started.