The concept of offices and work spaces have undergone a compete transformation due to COVID-19. One might be forgiven to hint that the claustrophobic cubicles are a thing of the past now. With companies adopting the work from home (WFH) and work from anywhere (WFA) models, office spaces have undergone a complete overhaul.
Months of working from the comforts of our homes has raised our expectations when it comes to working spaces. Companies have understood the need to restyle their office spaces to suit the needs of their employees as they start returning to in-person work. Many employees have signaled their willingness to change jobs in search for employers who will take their demands seriously. Confronted by such situations, companies are leaving no stone unturned in redesigning their work spaces to accommodate employee requests.
Office interiors are seeing a major transformation as desks are being moved further apart and air circulation systems improved. Some firms have gone as far as doing away with desks and cubicles in favour of conference rooms.
The onus is on companies to come up with innovative solutions to present a safe and comfortable working environment. According to architects and designers, this is a crucial phase which will decide the future of offices and working spaces. The WFM mode has employees asking themselves the need to go to office when one can work from the relative safety and comfort of one’s home.
A perfect example can be made of food and pharmaceutical company, Ajinomoto. The company restructured its North America headquarters before employees returned for in-person work. Wider hallways and glass panels between cubicles greeted the returning staff. A ‘relaxation room’ had also been added for the benefit of the workers.
It is beyond doubt that the coronavirus has not only changed the way our society functions but also the physical space that we function in. Working space has taken on a new definition in the present day and it will be interesting to see if the new concept of space becomes the new normal.