2 May 2020

Covid-19: goodbye to crowded offices, new work spaces in store post lockdown

7:57 pm on 2 May 2020

As lockdowns are relaxed around the world and people return to their workplaces, the next challenge will be adapting office environments to the new normal of strict personal hygiene and physical distancing.

Office space generic

Photo: Unsplash / Kate Sade

Shared equipment and moving around the office were areas identified to easily spread a virus, now they could be a thing of the past.

AUT's Associate Professor of Business and Economics Rachel Morrison said personal hygiene and physical distancing requirements meant office spaces would look different after lockdown.

"More cubicles again, maybe wider corridors so that people can physically distance, one way foot traffic so people are all moving in the same direction, possibly things like hot desking and activity based work are going to have to end."

After the alert level 4 lockdown was imposed a large proportion of people began working from home, Morrison said this could continue.

"Moving forward there will be fewer people in the office, for a lot of people their productivity would not have suffered as much as they thought it would."

Staggered shifts and even 24/7 operations may also continue, to limit workplace numbers and keep distancing between workers.

Morrison said it was a good time for companies to take their learnings from the lockdown and apply them to the workplace, for positive results.

"There may be policy changes which embrace these changes, we could reduce congestion and car pollution and increase wellbeing and productivity."

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