We’ve looked before at design principles to keep in mind when adapting spaces to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Since one of those principles is that “temporary shelters are never temporary,” it’s worth considering whether the current COVID response will bring permanent changes to office setups and what those changes might be.
Closing In on the Open Office
According to architecture and design magazine Dezeen, Paul Ferro of Form4 Architecture predicts a new look at cubicles in spaces that had been designed as open offices. Ferro, who has designed spaces for multiple companies in Silicon Valley, suggests partitioning groups of desks into “courtyards” so that teams can collaborate with physical separation from other groups of coworkers.
This strategy would split the open office into smaller groups of employees who frequently work together, an approach similar to the cohorting strategy implemented in schools to limit students’ circle of contact and transmission.
Room Dividers with Design
Numerous architecture and design firms are already looking for ways to implement partitions and screens without sacrificing aesthetics. Incorporating a variety of shapes and colors (even company colors) can break up a space without making it cramped. Several of the designs here aim to restrict the spread of droplets while also making the space more functional and avoiding a dark or sterile office look.
Rethinking the Office—Who Really Needs It?
Some researchers predict a complete overhaul of how we think of the office in the first place. The Harvard Business Review suggests we’ll see a change not just in layout but also in scale. With a likely increase in work-from-home positions, companies will focus on providing smaller shared spaces, with areas designed for collaboration and team meetings.
It’s clear that companies need to consider the health impact of their spaces and not just their policies. The good news is that designers, architects, and engineers are ready to meet their functional needs with aesthetic designs. At KTM Solutions, we’ve been designing plexiglass partitions since early in the pandemic, focusing on high-quality shields that won’t detract from their environments.
If you’re looking for ways to design your space for safety during and after the coronavirus pandemic, let us help you find a design to make the most of your space.