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Rethinking the Office Post COVID-19

What Will Change Post COVID-19?

In the midst of this pandemic it’s still important to look ahead to life post COVID-19. But with this unprecedented global disruption, no one can be sure how things will shake out.

China Continues Precautions, Tweaks Work Hours

Many are using China to predict what we might expect. The BBC reports many Chinese workers prefer returning to the office, citing efficiency and technology problems with remote work. Offices that have reopened require the use of masks, temperature checks, continued social distancing and increased testing. Chinese companies are also allowing for flexible or staggered work hours. Staggering commute times and office occupancy helps to reduce crowds and potential exposure.

Interestingly, the BBC also reports the Jiangxi province in East China implemented a voluntary 2.5-day weekend to encourage consumer spending. This extended time coupled with half-price tickets to scenic spots and travel vouchers is intended to encourage tourism consumption. The region’s companies can use their discretion on how to implement a reduced work week, if at all.

US Companies Consider Office Redesigns

There’s been a lot of speculation on how offices can be redesigned to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other pathogens. Articles are spit-balling ideas that range from the practical to the sci-fi – automatic doors, voice controlled elevators, floor markers to reinforce safe distances, increased air filtration, sanitizing UV lights, etc.

Other office trends may be on the chopping block. The open office design, already highly criticized, is even less appealing to the pandemic-minded. Many, in fact, are calling for the return of the cubicle or other partitions in the design of the new six-foot office.

With concerns about shared spaces, the entire coworking office model may be in peril. This, in turn, could spell a shakeup in office real estate. For example, WeWork is the largest tenant in New York City with 9 million square feet of space. According to Marketplace, “if even half that space is left vacant, it’s very difficult for the commercial real estate market to absorb it – especially during an economic downtown – which could result in decreased office rents.”

What We Do Know

What we do know is that we will get through this. This industry is essential for getting businesses up and running at full strength again. We’ve been seeing and hearing encouraging signs of movement recently. So from all of us here at Copier Careers, we hope you stay safe and stay positive – we’ll get through this together.