20/03/2021|By: Susan Chacko
Flexible work spaces and decentralized offices will definitely be the way to go in the future. However simply reducing density and sanitizing more, are definitely not incentives to bring people back into the workplaces. The most important question is how to improve performance and foster a sense of community in these challenging times. Ideas do not come in isolation, they come through interaction and engagement especially in the creative industry to which we belong – a conversation over a coffee or a debate over a design idea. For the business to survive and thrive the focus will need to shift from safety to engagement.
The future spaces may feature an open-plan office with clusters of places to work and take breaks. Technology will drive the businesses to be worker-friendly (especially for the ones working remotely) and safe for the ones working within the office environments.
Touch-less technology and upgraded mechanical system will provide optimal environmental control. Furniture / work stations will need to be lightweight, kinetic and more flexible so that they can be easily configured and sanitized. Physical distancing, installing barriers like sneeze guards and movable partitions, utilising natural daylight and operable windows are some of the other effective measures. A recent report suggests reducing the use of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems as it does link to the spread of the virus. Other elements will include installing antimicrobial surfaces and using portable room air cleaners with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
The current Covid situation has compelled our creative energies to imagine the ways buildings could help limit the spread of future epidemics, right from the layout of interiors and public spaces to healthy surface coatings. As proximity will no longer be tempting, there will be de-densification of office spaces. Perhaps better ventilation and open windows will be a step we might consider. This is not just limited to potted plants & green walls. Its perhaps breathing the fresh air and feeling the warmth of the sunlight too. Merging the outdoor and the indoor is something in my opinion would be a ground breaking innovation I would look forward to instead of the virtual and the physical that everyone is talking about.
About Bentel Associates International
Bentel is a leading African and Indian-based design firm established in 1960 which has a dedicated and focussed service offering across multiple sectors, comprising retail, office, residential and hospitality projects. Today BAI is an award-winning architectural firm known for having designed many unique and landmark developments throughout the African continent and the Middle-East.