Offices have to be rethought

Part 6 of the series. The fundamental challenge will be: how do we succeed in meeting the new occupational health and safety requirements and at the same time create an atmosphere in which staff enjoy working and feel comfortable.

“The office of the future will change in the face of the global Corona pandemic and be different from what we have known to date. Offices as we know them at the moment will have to be more than just space-efficient places, corporate cultures will change and the offices of the future will have to adapt to the new values.

Online meetings will increasingly focus on routine, different ways of working and smart building technology, with intensive work sessions taking place more than ever from pretty much anywhere. The top priority for social interaction which takes place in the office must now be that it is done in compliance with the necessary distancing guidelines. This applies not only to interaction between members of staff, but also to customer contact.  

All of this has an impact on the planning of the new working environments. However, it isn’t simply a matter of clearing the entire floor space, or reducing the seating in a meeting room. The design of the new areas presents planners and interior designers with new challenges, meaning offices have to be rethought. 

However, this is also about the question of how a reduction in density to comply with occupational health and safety issues can still create a working environment in which staff feel comfortable. It is precisely the atmospheric aspects which require the interaction of several different elements. When converting existing offices, the question will also arise as to whether adapting the existing space is sufficient, or whether this leads to a new office being planned from scratch.” 

Generously designed areas and modern ventilation systems implemented here before Corona at Mozilla. Click here for the project.

Walking directions, guest areas, air filters

The following measures are currently on the agenda in discussions with our building contractors: 

  • Partitions between workspaces
  • Widening of corridors and creation of passing zones in narrower corridors
  • Division of open-plan offices using partitions or plants
  • Lighting of common spaces und sanitary rooms
  • Creation of dedicated guest areas
  • Distribution systems at disinfection points. 
  • Lighting of seating in lounges and meeting rooms, as well as workspaces
  • Use of anti-microbial materials, e.g. for upholstery
  • Installation of sensor systems in water and soap dispensers etc
  • Installation of automatic door openers and voice-operated lifts
  • Installation of high-quality air filtration systems

Claudia und Klaus de Winder

deWinder, Berlin, June 2020

Editing: Jonas Demel

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