The importance of safety and the role of smart technology and structural building work should not be underestimated in the office of the future. And that goes way beyond simply providing plenty of soap and hand gel.
According to a study report by CBRE Nederland a largely touchless work environment makes a big difference to an office’s hygiene and safety. For example, self-cleaning surfaces, the installation of foot and motion sensors at entrances and exits, plus hands-free taps in the toilets. There is also a trend towards more personal technology: devices and accessories to limit the spread of disease. Climate control is another factor. Buildings with a measurable healthy indoor climate and good ventilation – reducing the spread of germs in the air – are becoming the norm.
In addition to hygiene, employees must also be able to respect social distancing rules. How do you keep a distance of one and a half metres? It’s a serious challenge for those with a small office. Siska: “Of course, it depends on how many people you employ. Is the team relatively small? Then a floor plan can be a great help. This tells people in which direction they need to circulate. These may seem like details, however, they are essential elements to be integrated in an office design.”
Co-working or multipurpose space?
Lacking the space to give everyone a (safe) spot in the office? A co-working space can be a good intermediate solution. Siska: “Not everyone enjoys working or works well from home. Co-working spaces can also have the advantage of allowing people to work closer to home. Alain: “You sometimes see this phenomenon in big cities like Paris and New York, however, we are increasingly heading in this direction. In the future, people will tend to live outside the city as it is very expensive to live in the city. Then it is handy to work in a co-working space closer to home. This allows them to avoid the congested city.”
Going one step further is the concept of multipurpose spaces, which are places in the community that are used simultaneously for a number of functions. The High Line in Manhattan is one of the first examples of such a multipurpose space. It accommodates artistic non-profit organisations, shops, communal areas and even some nature. This project is on a massive scale, but theoretically can also be applied in smaller cases. The aim is to gather creative people and also give them an accessible place to work.
Looking for more inspiration for the office of the future? Then download our file with the most innovative cases.
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