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New needs in the workspaces: goodbye open office?

Workplace needs are constantly evolving: spaces are changing, relationships between colleagues are drastically changing, and new opportunities are emerging.

Before Covid-19, there had been the spread of open spaces, designed both to reduce the spaces and to improve collaboration among employees, thereby increasing productivity. In addition, digital transformation had also played a large part in creating dynamic shared spaces, flexibility in schedules, and areas equipped for fast and stable connectivity.

The modern concept was made popular by early 20th century architect named Frank Lloyd Wright, who believed the design would democratize the workplace by tearing down walls both literally and socially. A few years later, designers and architects around the world promoted similar benefits, saying the open environment allows employees to collaborate more easily and thus be more productive. Unfortunately, unlike Wright’s original concept, which emphasized natural light and space between desks, today’s open offices are often used to cram more employees into smaller spaces. The effect has been a more distracted workforce.

The current Covid-19 emergency has certainly challenged the existing work model. The open spaces as well as coworking, full of people working together, are now seen as a potential health hazard, so agile working is becoming essential.

Sooner or later people will return to their offices and their activities, but according to a study carried out in the United States, 74% of managers believe that at least 5% of workers will request to work exclusively in smart working in the future. The reasons? Workplace safety, of course, and not least the so-called “pleasure of solitude,” as Professor Deborah Tannen of Georgetown University put it: “The comfort of being in the presence of others will be replaced by the comfort of their absence, especially when it comes to people we know relatively well. Instead of asking themselves, “Why do I have to do this online?” they will ask themselves, “Is there a good reason to do this live?”

The office space will need to change. From now on, it will be necessary to keep social distancing, use easily sanitized executive and operative furniture, improve air exchange patterns, clean rooms thoroughly and more often, and avoid meetings with too many people and work groups. It is no longer the workers who must adapt to the spaces, but the spaces must be adapted to the workers.

About Laura Olivieri

In charge of Sales and Customer care. Resulted-oriented individual providing a world class customer service experience.

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