Office providers have been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. They have now faced a range of financial challenges, with many more technical ones to overcome before they can return to the status quo.
The progression of office reopening ranges widely across the world. In Switzerland things are almost back to normal, office spaces are open, and people are going back to work even if it’s only for a few days a week. In the UK, most office buildings are still shut, and considering how to reopen.
In the USA, there was a particularly huge shift to working from home, 34% of people who previously commuted to work now work from home, compared to only 4% before the pandemic. As the first waves of the virus subside, the population will slowly resume commuting back to work. However, these numbers will not reach the pre-pandemic number for at least 1-2 years until the population is inoculated with a vaccine or through heart immunity. Vox recode’s article discusses these fundamental changes and shifts in society.
As previously mentioned, there are many technical challenges offices are faced before they can reopen. These are even more pronounced for coworking spaces, which maximized their yield by cramming as many people as possible into a small space. This paradigm will have to shift as these spaces will have to implement social distancing and reduce their capacity.
The challenges must be addressed through a combination of new processes and technologies. The lowest hanging fruit is to reduce the capacity of office spaces and implement regular cleaning schedules and sanitization stations. People have also discussed other more advanced technologies such as antimicrobial fabrics for furniture, UV lights for night-time disinfection, and voice-activated elevators. A range of such technologies, from the most advanced to the most basic, are highlighted in Future Proptech’s Proptech and Pandemics article.
Here’s a list of some of the easiest processes that can be implemented:
- Good signage and usage of nudge theory
- Strong communications platforms
- Contactless mailroom and parcel management software
- Contactless gate entry
- Hand sanitization stations
- Forces wearing masks
- Implement social distancing and maximum building capacity
As Tim Savage put it: “Social distance thinking may be part of our DNA moving forward”
The key will be to combine cost-effective technologies with easy-to-follow procedures. We’ve been exploring this extensively at Deepfinity and made our internal parcel tracking software work with contactless mail and parcel management.
Photos courtesy of gettyimages.com