In Every Pandemic, There’s an Opportunity

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If you were considering an office-buildout before the pandemic hit, having lived through it can only be considered a blessing. At BE Builds, we’ve seen our clients designing workspaces that are dramatically different than the ones they would’ve designed just 12 months ago. Of course, there are enhanced safety considerations, but the reality is that the pandemic has created a design aesthetic – and opportunity – that doesn’t show any signs of going away soon. 

Health and Wellness Tech

Re-opening in a post-COVID world means making health and wellness a focus of office design rather than a productivity-enhancing perk, and the tech industry has really risen to the occasion. From touchless control systems and sensors to air purification systems, contactless access control and germ-killing UV lights, these systems work behind-the-scenes to support the health requirements of a post-COVID workplace. And these enhancements are not just a temporary investment due to the pandemic – they’re designed to deliver what every office needs for the long-term; healthier workers, reduced absenteeism due to illness and a workplace culture focused on physical and mental wellbeing.

Inventing the Wheel

Office design is constantly evolving in order for businesses to best fit the needs of workers, the environment they operate in, and goals for productivity and growth. In response to the pandemic, one innovative design has become a significant industry trend – the hub-and-spoke. In this office layout, a central hub workspace is designed for common use – meetings, collaborative engagement, brainstorming sessions, and team tasks – while smaller satellite workspaces or spokes are set out closer to employee’s homes. This meshes well with the need for socially-distanced office space in which to focus on productive tasks while still allowing employees flexibility and the ability to maintain a better work-life balance. 

This design is a great compromise on the either-or debate between working remotely or working in an office. Working from home simply doesn’t suit most businesses or employees – it makes collaboration difficult, work is constantly disrupted, and it lacks the stimulation and inherent productivity focus of an office environment. Using a hub-and-spoke design allows employees freedom to govern their time and independence better while providing them with quiet, well-equipped spaces in which to get things done, while still providing a space to collaborate, build relationships and develop a strong company culture.

Material Culture

Office cleaning has always been an important focus, from ensuring good indoor air quality and a pleasant-smelling environment to creating a neat, hygienic and professional space. Of course, this has moved to a considerably higher level of importance over the pandemic, and the trend of sanitized, germ-free workspaces will be a part of office design trends for years to come. This doesn’t mean just filtering air more carefully or cleaning more regularly, it means a change-up at every level of the office design itself. One way that this is being expressed is in the need for furniture and materials that can be quickly and easily cleaned. Gone are the velvets, leathers and upholsteries that trap dirt and germs and require special cleaning – instead, office designers are focusing on germ-resistant materials and furnishings that can stand up to regular sanitization and still look great.

Access to the Outdoors

Experts agree that one of the best ways of combating the spread of germs and viruses is as simple as plenty of fresh air. This is a challenge for most office buildings where, for decades, the emphasis has been on sealing buildings against natural air flow to support safety and indoor climate control. Today’s post-COVID office designs are looking for innovative ways to let the outside in, from creating outdoor meeting and cafeteria spaces to ensuring that windows can be opened to allow natural air flow through the space. Of course, this isn’t possible for many office buildings and is going to be a hard sell in the depths of winter or the height of summer, but for those spaces there are other solutions – high-efficiency air conditioning systems with the latest air filtration and purification tech. 

Build a Workspace for a Post-COVID World with BE Builds

BE Builds is an office design and buildout specialist focused on taking the stress and frustration of office construction. Knowledgeable about the needs of modern offices and the post-pandemic challenges businesses face, our experienced team will work with you to deliver a space that is safe, productive and as unique as your business. Visit us at https://bebuilds.com/

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