12 May Top 10 Workplace Themes Post COVID-19
These days the A/E/C Industry is talking about space—a lot. We’re making decisions about the best ways to safely re-integrate people into places and prioritizing operational needs and budgets with people’s expectations.
This new level of complexity has required us to ask ourselves how will people experience our spaces and what impact will it have on their personal health, well-being and behavior? Followed quickly by, what do we need from our spaces right now and in the future? The good news is, you don’t have to choose one or the other. Manufactured interior construction solutions give you both.
We believe spaces should be resilient all the time, not just when responding to a crisis. Relevant and useful space should be fluid, simple to adapt, cause minimal disruption to your people and business and change with circumstances.
Explore these top 10 workplace themes to learn how you can design and provide the best spaces post COVID-19.
1. Resilient Space
Interior construction solves the practical needs in the current situation and can be adapted and customized for future needs of businesses. A resilient space must be able to accommodate current and emerging technology. It has to be built quickly and safely in a health-and-safety-controlled environment. A resilient space is built for now, ready for the future and designed to be architecturally, economically and environmentally sustainable.
All of DIRTT’s modular solutions have 21-day manufacturing lead times and install quickly. They’re agile and ready to respond quickly to meet client needs.
2. Distributed Workspace
Remote and on-site working environments will be designed to maximize productivity and collaboration while respecting personal safety boundaries and individual needs. This may include increased remote/home working, more collaborative spaces in the workplace and office areas specific to fostering team dynamics. All of this will be governed by new social and physical norms.
Respecting the needs of the individual and the business is an iterative process. This will require ongoing communication and modifications as the world re-integrates into working within a new personal safety paradigm. Organizations need to prioritize how to modify their environments to consider current and evolving requirements while simultaneously encouraging collaborative behaviors that drive revenue.
ICE software allows individuals to experience the space to ensure it meets personal safety boundaries and individual needs. All of DIRTT’s interior solutions have 21-day manufacturing lead times and install quickly. They’re agile and ready to respond quickly to meet client needs.
3. New Protocols
Welcome to the six-feet office. Employers will want to manage and minimize human interaction points and increase safety and hygiene safeguards. In order for people to feel safe at work, protocols will be put in place to ensure co-workers maintain a minimum safe distance of six feet. Being part of the design conversation early allows clients to maximize the benefits of the manufactured interior construction solutions in the workplace. This allows them to create spaces that support meeting guidelines and adapt as the guidelines change.
DIRTT allows clients to adapt and re-adapt their floorplan as needed. Graphics can display protocols in easy-to-read, readily visible formats, and wayfinding can be incorporated to allow safe passage through office spaces.
4. Physical and Mental Health
There is global acknowledgment that personal safety and well-being within the workspace has significant impact on productivity and a business’ bottom line. Creating an environment that ensures individuals feel secure and protected has benefits. It facilitates increased concentration, efficiency and engagement. It builds trust between employees and employers.
Physical environments shaping workspace behavior needs to be adapted quickly to reflect the concerns and needs of individuals and must provide visual cues confirming the environment aligns with their priorities. Speed is key.
DIRTT solutions allow the workplace to be easily modified to create more personal space for the individual. They can also incorporate natural and biophilic elements into the workplace. Timber structures and Breathe® walls bring the outside in, having a positive effect on well-being and increasing productivity. Incorporating graphics on Willow Glass also provides imagery that can calm and encourage employees. In healthcare environments, this solution is referred to as distraction imagery.
In this post-COVID world, touch-points have become a concern for infection transfer. As new technology is introduced to create a truly hands-free office, investing in infrastructure that can support those changes is crucial. The goal will be to eliminate hand-to-surface contact wherever possible. This will include using automatic doors, liquid dispensers and motion-sensing technology to support workers and keep them safe.
To allow for these changes, DIRTT wall panels can be easily removed to update technology in hours rather than days while its flexible solutions can quickly be reconfigured to meet new needs.
6. Design Crossover
Employee priorities have shifted. Personal comfort now means safety, not convenience. Organizations now need to demonstrate how they’re keeping individuals and facilities safe and protected. This means integrating preparedness and occupant safety measures into physical working environments. Application of healthcare-specific infection-control strategies to non-healthcare spaces will ensure building occupant safety, such as negative air pressure systems and infection prevention and control measures.
ICE software allows individuals to experience their space during the design phase and field test it to ensure it practically addresses the physical needs of employees. DIRTT solutions and hospital-grade materials can be designed in ways that limit touchpoints to prevent infection transfer.
Spaces should be safe to touch and easy to disinfect. Infection prevention and control can include anti-microbial surfaces. Investments should be made in building materials that prevent harm and mitigate risk for contamination. These materials are highly functional and can be adapted and repurposed with changing workspaces over time.
While DIRTT allows for use of customer’s own materials (COM), they have a suite of hospital-grade power and finishes to address these needs as well as a variety of easy-to-clean surfaces:
• Enzo® with Optifiller on wall surfaces
• Thermofoil on millwork
• Carnegie fabrics used in hospital settings provide infection-control properties to the workplace
• Easy use of customer’s own materials (COM), such as Corian
• Embedded technology into walls behind 6 mm glass
8. Technology Infrastructure
As our return-to-work plans evolve, workspaces have to be ready to support people who are back at their desks and those who are still working remotely. Collaboration between the two will be facilitated by integrated tech. Maintaining a strong connection both from a network standpoint and a personal standpoint is key. Employers and employees want an accessible, trustworthy technology platform that facilitates communication between remote and on-site working.
DIRTT’s quick-connect power and network solutions are flexible and future-proof. When more data or power cabling is needed, their modular solutions make that process fast.
9. Technology Applications
How will building owners and managers convey information to employees about building usage? Using integrated tech can help distribute information. For example, live-tracking maps show usable space, indicate “hot spots,” and highlight cleaning protocols and building air-quality information.
DIRTT media walls can be embedded in high-visibility areas to integrate with new monitoring and alert protocols. Because the monitor is behind glass, it does not become an infection risk.
10. Air Quality
Gradually improved air filtration systems will integrate with building management systems. They will be designed to communicate air-quality levels and alert when the quality is compromised. As a specialty subcontractor, it’s important to be aware of how air filtration fits into the design of an environment. The goal is to support and enhance HVAC and airflow considerations.
Again, media walls can integrate and display these new monitoring and alert protocols. While DIRTT’s Breathe® walls incorporate living plants, which can act as a low-grade natural air filter, in open environments.
- DIRTT “Top 10 Workplace Themes Post COVID”
- Cushman & Wakefield – 6 Feet Office (article and webinar)
- Resilient Design Institute – Boosting Organizational Resilience and Managing Change in Crisis (webinar)
- JLL – COVID-19: Global Real Estate Implications (article)
- CBRE – COVID-19 and the Future of Furniture (article)
- Gensler – Taking Care of Each Other in the Post-Pandemic Open Office (article)
- Gensler- What Happens When We Return to the Workplace (article)
- Interior Architects – A Changed World: What Happens When we Return to the Office? (webinar)
- BWBR – Design Thinking Series: Future of the Workplace (Episode 1) (panel discussion)
- The Commercial Interior Design Association – Collective D(esign): Responding to Change (webinar)
- The Commercial Interior Design Association – Collective D(esign): Healthcare Designers at the Forefront (panel discussion)
- The New York Times – What Will Tomorrow’s Workplace Bring? More Elbow Room, for Starters (article)
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