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Post-Covid Offices: Gels, Single-use Socks, and Fewer Desks

Article June 3, 2020

Article

What effects will the Covid-19 pandemic have on commercial real estate’s future and its design? We’ve asked Alexandra Tomášková, Skanska Executive Vice President for Skanska Commercial Development in Hungary and the Czech Republic, to present her vision and commentary.

I believe that after the immediate problems and restrictions fall away, the current situation will incite the further development of flexible office concepts. In light of the unclear future, companies will request much more flexibility when renting spaces, and precisely these concepts – including co-working – can provide it.

Companies will also begin caring more for their employees’ health, and so office spaces will see a transformation in terms of a greater focus on the quality of their internal environments. At Skanska, it has been a matter of course for some years to install modern filtration systems, and take care of air quality and exchange. The strict WELL certification criteria for healthy interior environments are a standard in our buildings.  I expect the rest of the market to respond to this trend as well.

Identify spaces and items by their risk for surface transmission of the coronavirus. Source: Knight Frank/Sharry

Fewer Desks

After their good experience with work from home, many companies will abandon the perceived need for fixed desks for all employees, and the ratio of desks to employees will therefore likely fall significantly.

Within their demands on office sizes, however, new requirements for internal layout and office furnishings will compensate for this. Although there will be fewer desks, they will be placed farther apart. Disinfectant gels and easy-to-wash materials will become natural parts of office life, and we can additionally expect, for example, automatic doors and single-use work mats on desks.

All office spaces will be adapted to let people maintain appropriate distancing – including the addition of markings for people’s recommended direction of motion. All of this may also be reflected in requests for larger amounts of floor space.

Office space could change dramatically after coronavirus. Source: Yahoo Finance/YouTube

Alexandra Tomášková, Skanska Executive Vice President for Skanska Commercial Development in Hungary and the Czech Republic