Aug 28, 2020
Over the last six months, we have seen a significant impact on the global economy and business norms due to…
Before the corona catastrophe struck the world and ravaged the normal life of man and endangered the very existence of the human race, we thought working without office is impossible. Only after that, we have discovered that we can adapt to the new normal of working from home and enjoy the freedom of a more relaxed schedule. The commuting problem was eliminated thereby reducing many other grievances. However, as the world adapts itself to the new normal the management demands the workers to get back to offices, but with changing office dynamics. It is but obvious that the office space might witness the drastic changes, neither seen before nor anticipated.
Prior to the covid-19 scenario, corporates boasted about making the best use of space. There was a cutthroat competition over occupying space in commercial urban centres. The norms have now drastically changed though. The offices are now realigning their layouts, interiors and space designing in the best interest of the workers and the management. The priority has now shifted from the overutilization of spaces to the physical wellbeing of workers.
Now social distancing is gathering more and more important as we gear towards the gradual unlocking, shifting the responsibility on the people rather on the state and its authorities. For this purpose and other safety precautions, a few employees are still skeptical about going back to offices. Even if they do, they will have to rest assured about their health and safety precautions so as to focus on the task on their hand. Otherwise, it might lead to restlessness, chaos and absenteeism. The office designing has to be therefore reworked to match to this scenario that was never envisioned.
Organizations have now adapted themselves to work without critically low or almost no physical contact. Collaborations and meetings have become digital, overcloud meeting apps rather than being pack jammed in a single conference room, the paperwork is now more ‘paperless’, being restricted to only laptop screens and pen drives. Common areas like elevator buttons and escalator handles, taps, door handles, chairs, tabletops will be frequently sanitized.
The past few years have witnessed an unparalleled success for the coworking space juggernaut in India. This accelerated growth has stemmed from the revolutionary shift in the Indian traditional workspace to a more flexible, accessible and affordable coworking space. The present disruption due to COVID-19 is seen as temporary as the coworking space industry is expecting a resurgence as the economy emerges out of lockdown. Some of the coworking spaces in Hyderabad, Bangalore etc. have already started witnessing more footfalls.
This might be attributed to one reason that the income of the corporations has come down drastically and they are looking for affordable alternatives. However, within shared office spaces, some changes that may catch your attention are fewer gatherings and celebrations, the vacancy of alternate seating or increased distance between seating, signage indicating one-way entry, exit and movement and also sanitizing spaces everywhere. Coworking space also has the potential to become the new normal post COVID.
This realm might witness a paradigm shift. The walkways might be a little bit wider, the cubicles more clearly demarcated. The tables in the cafeteria more spaced, the restrooms more frequently sanitized. The practice of standing in a queue, more distance between coworkers, spacing in elevators are here to name a few. The layout and seating will now inhibit social contact rather than encouraging it. Offices will now be redesigned to avoid congestion and to allow people to have their own space, even while they work. Increased personal storage, Tea and coffee making restrictions, restriction to parties or team lunches could be new trends introduced in the office spaces post covid-19.
A Virtual office is one of the best modes of working post corona massacre. It is preferred more by the management because it reduces the overhead costs of a conventional office, paying whose liabilities may seem tough when the economy is hit severely by the reduced sales and companies turning bankrupt. Another reason why employees prefer virtual office is that it gives them a balance between work and life, ensuring their safety during a pandemic and boosting their productivity in a few cases. And various other factor leads to the rise of this remote working.
No doubt that the corona has brought upon us unprecedented pressures. The office design post-covid-19 era will have features one never even imagined. Some of them were enumerated as above. Now that we need to change ourselves with these changing times, it is best to bring that change in a direction that serves the interests of all involved. Virtual office trend may snowball and occupy the highest share in the market space because the government, management of corporations and the employees all of them prefer this mode. Coworking might, however, follow a trail with a gradual increase in demand, but with many changes from what it was before the lockdown.
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