By: Jill Mendoza
We are hearing a lot of buzz around how much COVID-19 has and will impact our physical work environments. From office, retail, entertainment, healthcare, manufacturing, research facilities, places of worship, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and so on, things will be different. Wherever you work, whatever you and your co-workers do there, how you plan your environments for the COVID world will continue to be an important long-term business strategy moving forward with many incremental stages, it will not have a short term fix.
Perhaps the most straightforward changes in these environments are to the physical spaces. In these two recent publications by Tradeline and WSJ; one, the Tradeline publication by Lisa Wesel, she explores how research spaces will be used in the coming months and the second WSJ, by Suzanne Oliver, addresses a few of the ways—”some old, some new—to make the office environment more healthful and less stressful.” Although the changes in our work environments will vary from institution to institution, industry to industry and company to company, simply put, everyone will be dealing with these key elements:
- Space Configuration and Occupancy
- Distancing and cleanliness
- Work in Shifts
- Core Lab Challenges (specific to Research Facilities)
- Protocols – Dealing with infection
- Mechanical Solutions – A Broader Reach
- And… Looking Ahead
Despite the buzz around this topic, we find many companies are holding off on making major long-term changes. Not because they think COVID-19 will go away but more importantly they believe COVID-19 and other public health events will be a part of our lives moving forward and maybe reoccurring in both the near- and long-term future.
In other words, the long-term impact COVID-19 will have on our work environments will be similar to the impact 9-11 had on “airport security”. Where our Post 9-11 world focused on Security, our Post COVID-19 world will most likely be centered around health, safety, and sustainability. We’ll be focused on the work being done, the people doing the work, our behaviors, and the environments that support all three.
The illustration shown here is just one example of the work our team is currently doing to assist our clients in studying different solutions around the topics of Space Configuration and Occupancy. We anticipate this type of planning to be just the beginning of a long journey for our clients and their teams. Please share with us where your COVID journey is taking you. What will your center of focus be for your work environments?