What is next? This webinar was an interesting listen in different perspectives with a “first wave” of professionals on the impossibilities to predict what is next. Steelcase sponsored this discussion involving topics on design considerations and safety guidelines. Bar graph statistics were shown on how low percentages were for “pre-COVID” workplace employees on being “mobile”. Twenty percent or less was the highest percentage of employees in this group of demographics. Twenty percent or less. This percentage range shows us how our traditional and “comfort zone” mindsets are not immediately prepared to predict what will happen next for the future of our companies, clients, colleagues, and employees.
When returning to the workplace, without even referring to the bar charts of this webinar, the fact that there will be the same number of people in the building at the same time, will cease and desist. Thus, we have no choice but to allow for flexibility in our work schedules for staggered time periods for employees, clients, deliveries, and visitors to enter and exit, for those that choose to do so. Thus, the “work from home” phenomenon will surface more and more and become more of the daily norm.
While we watch the “work from home” phenomenon become a phenomenon, we also need to take action immediately, prepare, and strategize the increasing needs for safety in the office spaces. Our new strategy would also be based on adapting to the interior health and safety standards for each person entering, utilizing, and leaving common, shared spaces. These would not only include workstation cubicles, offices, but also the breakroom, corridors, stairways, fire escapes, lobby entrances, restroom spaces, etc.
Overall, our workplace needs to actively take action, become more resilient, offer accommodating standards proved legal by the city and state codes, abide all safety protocols, and training for still managing public office spaces for those that still prefer to work at-office or are deemed as “essential” workers. Basically our workplace during the “first wave” would probably deem as collaborative forces working together to make the environment safer.
Also, our workforce will need to be “fluid” and be open for new technologies and corporate advances to help improvise the wants of those that prefer to work “in-office”. The idea of struggling with work productivity and communication at home comes up as another topic. This webinar broadly covers practical ideas in all these areas to ponder, as this is all open-ended as an ongoing “project” to brainstorm.
Our competition for better health, safety, and wellness begins right now, just as architects practice architecture abiding health, safety, and welfare (HSW) codes, legally and in compliance.