Which Changes in the Office Will Outlive the Virus

For all the change that 2020 wrought, offices are going to continue to change going forward, predicts former AOL CEO Steve Case in an interview with Inc Magazine.The year of the pandemic brought remote work to the kitchen table, and though working from home will continue for an expected 30% of the workforce, there are still benefits to getting people together. “There is something about bumping into people and exchanging ideas. Learning things you might not otherwise have serendipitously learned and some of the brainstorming process is oftentimes more effective in a more physical setting,” he says.

Some of the changes anticipated include more cubicles. They allow for increased safety more than the open spaces that had come to dominate modern office design. Voice activation will be introduced to elevators and locked doors to avoid commonly touched surfaces. Start times will be staggered to avoid everyone arriving and departing at the same time, and rotating days are likely to be integrated into schedules permanently. Case thinks it’s a wonderful time for creativity to flourish in office design. “It creates opportunity for entrepreneurs. How do you create this hybrid culture of physical and virtual and do it in ways that your teams can be more effective and everyone can play to their strengths?”

The larger corporations, with the bigger budgets, are expected to lead the way in office redesign. But as the shift from small, independent offices gave way to open, group spaces, another change to the workplace is coming, left behind in the footprint of 2020.

photo: Getty Images

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