As we continue our #RethinkWork blog series today, we’re exploring new – and likely unexpected – ground.
At Wingate Hughes, not only are we architects and designers, but we’re also workplace experts. In order to design the best office space possible, it takes more than a mastery of architecture theory and great style – it takes an understanding of who will utilize the space: people.
In our #RethinkWork series, we’re putting aside any and all conventional ideas surrounding workplace design to leverage this unique moment in time as an opportunity to think differently. Today we’re putting our “workplace expert” hats on once again to imagine the office of the future and how the current public health crisis will reshape it’s design.
For better or for worse, the societal and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will change how we approach most parts of our lives. Our team wants to see organizations place a new emphasis on the most important variable in creating an excellent workplace culture: taking care of people.
Our Co-founder and Managing Principal, Gavin Daniels, hopes this change means corporations finally go beyond the esoteric understanding of wellness. That they go beyond the trendiness of a plant wall, snack station, or yoga room (which yes, we’re all fans of) and actually ask, “what are you doing to keep your people healthy?”
So what exactly does this look like? Daniels believes we’ll see cleaning protocols become en-vogue, used as a recruitment tool to bring top talent to an organization. It will become common-place to see hand sanitizer stations at the front door of an office and limits on the number of people allowed in elevators and small spaces.
We’ll change the way we think about all of the surfaces we touch and what we consider a healthy distance to keep between co-workers. The ever popular open office plan may become a thing of the past. You may no longer sit adjacent to your coworker. Our spaces instead will become better defined, bringing some of the creature comforts of your personalized space at home to the office. This return to structure, definition, and personalization should provide employees everywhere with more room to focus, escaping the business of open concept.
When it comes to caring for our co-workers’ health and safety, it’s all on the table.
As future-oriented people, it’s easy to become focused on the trendiest or most far-out design we think we’ll see in the office of tomorrow (cubicle bubbles, anyone?). Instead, we implore you to consider the future as the perfect opportunity to come back to the basics and refocus on what really matters: caring for ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.