By Chris Lewis, Managing Principal, Lee & Associates – Houston
Covid-19 has shown the world the necessity of socialization and human interaction in the workplace. Societies built on collaboration now must question the layout of workplace environment. Interaction amongst people (for most)] is necessary and working from home indefinitely isn’t a true long-term reality. While many companies can stagger shifts and offer flexible schedules with today’s technology, how will this new normal affect shared workspaces and shared common area amenities? What is certain is that everything will change, but the question is how much? And, the decisions made today will affect the operational functionality of tomorrow’s tenant. As the economy takes a pause for the short-term to readjust, owners will have to rethink their long-term plans and listen to consumers. Strategies of “benching, hot desks, hoteling” focusing on dense-work-environments may be a lost trend in design; at least for now. If you had 35 square feet to yourself before, this will translate to 70 square feet so operators can act responsibly amongst new social distancing guidelines. Density will exist, but it will appear different often with this “six foot of separation” rule implied in every facet of the workplace. This will include circulation factors (typically 30%) that may now trend upwards of 40% or more. Spaces may be larger, more open, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will expand their office spaces going forward. Employers and employees have determined that they can work remotely via online video platforms, so this initiates a new discussion on “right-sizing” the office. While distractions in the home exist, productivity is still high enough to consider a long-term strategy where only the key essential employees come to the office. Click to read more at www.lee-associates.com.