The New Normal Post-Coronavirus Office Guidelines from the Experts you Should NOT Ignore!

Social Distancing Office Guidelines -

Here’s What The Post-Coronavirus Office May Look Like-

Ensure social distancing Want to open your office again -

Want to make social distancing even more effective? It’s about time (as well as space)-

Social Distancing Office Guidelines

Weston Williamson + Partners has outlined its plans for a social-distancing workplace, with transparent screens around desks, hands-free doors and a barista, to allow employees to safely return to its office following the coronavirus lockdown. The London-based architecture studio has created graphics to illustrate the adaptions it plans to make to its office to allow its employees to safely return to work.

Weston Williamson + Partners intends to combine changes in working practices with physical alterations to its workspace to allow employees that want to return to the office the opportunity to do so.

"The drawings show our response with the focus on safety," explained Chris Williamson.

"We want to give our colleagues the choice," he told Dezeen. "Some are very enthusiastic about moving out of their flats and getting back to some sort of normality. Others have some concerns. We need to be mindful of both. It's a whole new level of flexible working."

To increase the amount of space available per person, the studio intends on allowing at least half of its 100 staff to work from home each day, with office attendance assigned by day.

The alterations that Weston Williamson + Partners intend to make include installing a cleaning zone within its lobby, placing transparent screens around each desk and adapting doors to allow for hands-free opening.

The studio also intends on holding meetings in open areas rather than enclosed meeting rooms and employing a barista and a cook so employees don't have to use a shared kitchen.

Although Weston Williamson + Partners has made its plans based on its own office, Williamson believes that it could serve as a template for other companies trying to figure out how employees can safely return to the office.

"It will depend on the layout of each office, but the drawings we have prepared show what we intend to do at Weston Williamson + Partners and we think they could be useful to other offices," he explained.

"There will be additional difficulties for say Rogers Stirk Harbour, who are on the 14th floor of the Cheesegrater, where vertical circulation will take much longer."

Williamson wants to use the pandemic to make lasting improvements to the office and expects many of the adaptions to the office to be made permeant.

"We have always tried to have a relaxed, friendly studio with a kitchen table feel and this will continue," he said.

"The key is to do these modifications with style and grace and use these unfortunate circumstances to actually improve how we work with climate change in mind," he continued.

"Investment in video conferencing and distance working facilities has paid off during the lockdown and we see future investment being essential to allow greater flexible working."

Alongside adapting its office Weston Williamson + Partners is also concerned about how its employees will be able to travel to work safely.

Based on a major survey that the studio carried out last year on commuter attitudes in 10 global cities, it has made a series of proposals to improve London's public transport infrastructure.

These include increasing the number of bike lanes, widespread free cycle hire, banning cars from central London in peak periods, the legalisation of electric scooters and prebooking public transport.

"We have a comprehensive knowledge of how everyone commutes and are encouraging everyone to cycle wherever possible and subsidise electric bike purchases," said Williamson.

"We are very disappointed in the government encouraging everyone to jump in their cars. In some cities that might be ok but in London, cars should be banned between 7-10 within the congestion charge zone with the roads given over to cyclists and electric scooters."

As with its office, Williamson believes that the coronavirus should provide the impetus to improve London and other cities. "Again, the intention is to implement these changes beautifully – unlike the knee jerk additions to terrorist attacks – to consider how we travel to improve our city in the short term and the planet for the long term," he said. "Many of these are ideas we should be doing," he continued. "At Weston Williamson + Partners we are passionate about creating civilised cities. 2020 could be the year that a virus that killed so many taught us how to live." Architects and designers are envisioning socially distanced spaces for after country's coronavirus lockdowns end. Curl la Tourelle Head designed a concept for socially distanced tent classrooms, while Precht designed a socially distanced park.


Here’s What The Post-Coronavirus Office May Look Like

Last week, employees at Hyundai Card credit card company in Seoul spread out at their desks as part of coronavirus protective measures.

Though much of the world is still under some degree of coronavirus lockdown, one real estate firm has already proposed a way for office workers to mitigate the risk in returning to work through a workspace concept called “the six feet office.”


Commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield used its Amsterdam headquarters to show what the post-coronavirus pandemic office could look like—a workspace designed to encourage employees to intuitively practice social distancing. The “six feet office” includes an array of design tools to keep coworkers six feet apart from one another, including barriers between desks, pedestrian lanes that keep traffic flowing in an orderly way, and disposable supplies to keep germs from spreading. In the Amsterdam office, large circles imprinted on the carpet create a visual guide to staying six feet away from other employees at all times, while arrows on the perimeter of rooms encourage anyone passing by to walk counter-clockwise to prevent getting too close, similar to the measures put into place at some hospitals. According to Fast Company, Cushman & Wakefield’s Amsterdam branch is also installing transmitters to track employee movement via cell phones, in part to measure how well the design keeps people six feet apart and to possibly alert people with a sound if they are getting too snug.

Last week, co-working giant WeWork responded to coronavirus with a new proposal that would see new, less-crowded floor layouts and meeting rooms, more hand sanitizing stations and wipe dispensers in common areas, and one-way traffic paths to be rolled out in locations over the next six weeks. 

Experts say coronavirus will leave a legacy in how our work spaces are designed—with some saying that it could lead to a decrease in open-plan offices and co-working spaces, as well as boost the use of touch-free technology at work, like motion sensors and facial recognition software.


“The one thing that we know for sure is that ‘back to normal’ in the workplace is going to be anything but normal,” Cushman & Wakefield CEO Brett White told CNBC Monday. “The protocols that we’re going to need to implement in offices and industrial [and] retail buildings in which we operate are completely changing.”


According to an MIT study, 34% Americans who usually commute to work clocked in from home during the first week of April because of the pandemic, a large jump from the nearly 4% of the workforce who worked from home at least half the time before the virus, Vox reported. Experts say that increased flexibility to work from home may be here to stay even after people emerge from quarantine.

“A lot of company management and leaders showed great skepticism [about wording from home],” Steve King, a partner at Emergent Research, a consulting firm told Vox. “That skepticism will go away because companies recognize that remote work does work.”


A key factor in why the Chinese labor force has been able to go back to the office so swiftly is that more office buildings in China have been equipped with updated air-filtration systems. Most office ventilation systems are not set up to let in fresh air. Instead, they tend to recirculate the air that’s already inside the building, which can be a hazard during a viral pandemic. A longer-term effect of the coronavirus pandemic may be that more buildings are designed to allow for cleaner air flow, Cushman & Wakefield’s head of Occupier Business Performance Despina Katsikakis told Fast Company

“Improved air filtration is probably the single most important lesson learned from China,” Despina Katsikakis said.


The office concept is meant to allow companies to have employees safely back at work as quickly and as cost-efficiently as possible, Lokerse said in a company video. With some countries beginning to ease lockdown restrictions, this may be a way for economies to gradually reopen while preventing additional waves of the virus. Cushman & Wakefield has reportedly already helped 10,000 institutions in China get close to nearly a million employees back to work.


Ensure social distancing Want to open your office again

In times of Covid-19, you need to ensure your employees can maintain the recommended distance. To achieve this, the capacity of your office and the layout of your workspace should be managed. Clear communication about measures taken and how to act and work safely in the office is essential. iotspot can support you and your staff to ensure social distancing at the office with our app and simple installation by you.

Reduce desk capacity to ensure social distance. 30%, 40%, or 50% capacity. You decide the capacity.

In this example 50% is blocked. Capacity can be changed every day. Stay in control every day!

All desks need to be equipped with a special iotspot NFC sticker to digitise your office. Configuration is done via a self explanatory setup app.

Blocking desks is done via the same app. Scan the desk and block it within one click. It will update the office capacity and workspace lay-out in real time.

In just a few clicks, staff can book an allowed (=green) desk, based on a floor-plan or other search options. For the current day you have your own desk that is at a safe distance from other reservable desks.

Access is only allowed when you can show proof of a booked desk. We are working on extra access control features to simplify access control for security.


Want to make social distancing even more effective? It’s about time (as well as space)

Staggering strategy

Substantial and effective scheduling changes that can be made without too much inconvenience (or where the benefits clearly outweigh the costs) might include:

  • staggered schedules for workers, including using a seven-day (instead of five-day) roster

  • for schools, alternating lunchtimes, and slightly staggering start and finish times of the school day for different classes

Why it works

The diagram below shows how spatial and temporal distancing can work together to flatten the curve of infections. Imagine a randomly spread population of 1,000 people, one of whom is infected. With free movement, everyone becomes infected within a relatively short time. If we reduce movement by 80% (spatial distancing; dashed curve), the rate of infection is slowed. If we halve the time people spend exposed to one another (temporal distancing; dotted curve), the rate of infection also slows, but not as much. But if we combine both of these measures (red curve), the effect is strongest of all.

Workplaces and schools could also consider keeping people in consistent teams rather than mixing them up, at least while distancing is required.

Social distancing will be a fact of life for months to come. So we need to do it as smartly and efficiently as possible.


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