The outburst of COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the way we typically live, think, or work. Buoyed by all the factors and the restrictions around travelling and gatherings, not only residential, even the commercial segment has been impacted significantly. Amid such a scenario, the change in office spaces is also quite evident.
Traditional offices and the way they worked are now a thing of the past. History remains the key witness; every time a crisis happens in the economy, things change rapidly in the professional world. The economic recession of 2008-2010 made the companies adopt a fresh view of contractual labour. As a result, several benefits related to permanent employment were extended to contractual work contracts.
Today, while the entire economy has been affected by the outbreak of novel Coronavirus, how can the crisis have scarce or no potential impact on the office sector? One of the visible changes is the massive acceptance of the work-from-home culture. Further, the office structure has also experienced necessary alterations. Due to social distancing, the de-densifying of office spaces has undoubtedly become a necessity. Currently, the office seating arrangements are being redesigned. Moreover, the companies have started incorporating a minimum gap of six ft between the sitting arrangements. Sanitisation machines are incorporated at numerous places within the office. In certain offices, masks are properly placed on the reception for the use of visitors. There is a marked increase in the demand for anti-microbial furniture. Many offices are invariably sanitising the whole office, once in every three days.
The most drastic change has been witnessed in the air condition system. While it was impossible earlier to cut off the supply to a particular room, the present-day air conditioners have witnessed extensive structural changes so that the supply can be stopped to the infected room. It is time to redesign the air filtration system and increase the flow of natural air. Another big change, which can be witnessed in the coming days is the extensive use of UV lights to air handlers. This will help purify the air and kill bacteria and germs present in the environment.
In a normal office, the conference room used to be small, with people huddling up. This sounds like a classic recipe for a sure shot disaster. However, during the present times, the majority of meetings are going to be held virtually, and only half of the people will attend physical meetings with social distancing in mind.
There is also going to be a marked increase in the installation of sterilisation cabinets in the offices. The employees will be naturally encouraged to properly sterilise their belongings before heading towards their respective workstations. Going ahead, while voice-controlled devices will be in vogue, motion sensors and facial recognition will be used to open office doors. Innovative technology will indeed be employed to remind the employees about constantly cleaning their hands, follow social distancing, and wiping the surfaces to prevent the spread of germs.
Given the rising concerns amid the COVID-19 mayhem, it can be said that the changes are here to stay. It is time for both the employers and employees to embrace the changing working environment and look towards the future positively.