As coronavirus cases reach over 3 million worldwide, the UK continues to be in lockdown; staying at home and remote working where possible, with non-essential businesses closed.
Whilst some lockdown measures could ease in the foreseeable future, others, such as social distancing and various hygiene practices, are likely to be with us for some time, and could reshape the way many areas of the world operate.
The world of work is one area that is bound to experience restructuring, many making predictions as to when, and most importantly how, offices will begin to operate.
Increased Focus on Office Hygiene
To help further prevent the spread of infection, there will most likely be a big focus on office hygiene once people start going back to work, including routine hand-washing after going on public transport, as well as an abundance of hand sanitiser gel.
Additionally, businesses may also start to incorporate signs around the office, detailing standing spots in lifts and 2 metre circles around desks. Walls will also most likely be covered in posters, detailing how to practice social distancing and proper hygiene whilst preventing the spread of the virus.
The Rise of the Close-Plan Office
Whilst the open office plan has been a fashionable choice in recent years, due to social distancing measures and other preventative tactics, could there be a resurgence in the closed-plan design?
Many businesses may start to introduce features in the office that physically separates employees, helping them to maintain social distancing further.
More Remote Workers
In order to reduce overcrowding when offices start to reopen, many businesses may keep some of their employees working from home. As the current lockdown has shown, many employees within a business can operate well from home, some even working better with less distractions from colleagues/work peers.
Therefore, in order to ease the transition back into the office, and reduce the rate of infection as much as possible, businesses may keep a considerable portion of employees working from home, and only introduce those with roles that need the office to properly function.
A Change in Greetings
Another iconic thing to change within the workplace is the handshake, which will most likely evolve to better fit how post-pandemic offices operate.
The greetings policy for offices is very likely to change, however, how it will change is yet to be determined. Earlier this year, Beijing advertisements suggested an alternative clasping of your own hands to signify a greeting.
Investments in Contactless Technology
Businesses may also begin to invest in contactless technologies throughout the workplace, helping them to operate from the office whilst also preventing transmission of diseases. This could include investment in spaces with automatic doors, motion sensors and other contactless qualities.