COVID-19: Adapting your office space and culture to a post-COVID world

In addition to making immediate changes to your workplace in response to the current global pandemic, experts are predicting a number of trends that will persist and shift both the office space itself and the culture within it. Here we discuss longer-term impacts to the future of your workplace.

Remote Technology

Many employees and businesses have adapted their model to facilitate working from home. This includes the use of virtual meetings and video conferencing, laptops replacing desktops, cloud-based data storage, VPN systems, mobile phones, and online security systems that maintain productivity in an uncertain landscape. The use of flexible technology will persist as teams adapt to virtual collaboration rather than in-person conferences and business travel. Understanding the requirements for employees to be efficient and productive regardless of their surroundings will ensure you can easily leverage these tools if this situation were to happen again.

Technology can also be used to minimize surfaces that are regularly touched by employees. Automatic light switches, touch-less keypads for doors and elevators, sensor-operated bathroom fixtures, and other remote systems can help maintain clean environments.

Standards of Cleanliness and Hygiene

On the topic of cleanliness, strict and thorough cleaning practices adopted by landlords and office managers to address concerns over the spread of illness should transition into standard operating procedures. Not only will these new systems prevent contamination and reduce employee sick days, but they will increase the trust and sense of safety that employees feel in the workplace.

Enhanced sanitation practices can also apply to employee policies, where the availability of disinfecting products and messaging around hand and respiratory hygiene are promoted throughout the office.

Employee Behaviour and Wellbeing


Physical distancing and increased personal space will likely become the norm, meaning office layouts and individual work stations will need to provide sufficient space for employees to work safely. Some businesses may consider shifting toward a flexible desk system rather than permanent workspaces – a system that would allow for deeper cleaning to occur on a regular rotation. Adapt your common areas like meeting spaces and lunchrooms to accommodate greater personal space.

Supporting the mental health and well-being of employees through crises should become standard in your office culture. Employee safety and security must be top priority. For example, eliminating the stigma associated with working from home when employees feel at risk of transmitting illness. Develop a contingency plan in case an outbreak were to occur in your workplace or community. Promoting a healthy work-life balance may also be a change to your office culture that would benefit employees who are struggling with expectations of productivity while working remotely.

With greater emphasis places on working remotely when symptoms of illness are present, fewer people may be present in the office on a regular basis. In general, consider whether all employees are needed in the office full-time, or if alternating staff working from the office and home would enhance your company culture. When employee well-being is top of mind productivity and team morale will follow, ensuring that time working in the office is well spent.

In addition to making immediate changes to your workplace in response to the current global pandemic, experts are predicting a number of trends that will persist and shift both the office space itself and the culture within it. Here we discuss longer-term impacts to the future of your workplace.

Remote Technology

Many employees and businesses have adapted their model to facilitate working from home. This includes the use of virtual meetings and video conferencing, laptops replacing desktops, cloud-based data storage, VPN systems, mobile phones, and online security systems that maintain productivity in an uncertain landscape. The use of flexible technology will persist as teams adapt to virtual collaboration rather than in-person conferences and business travel. Understanding the requirements for employees to be efficient and productive regardless of their surroundings will ensure you can easily leverage these tools if this situation were to happen again.

Technology can also be used to minimize surfaces that are regularly touched by employees. Automatic light switches, touch-less keypads for doors and elevators, sensor-operated bathroom fixtures, and other remote systems can help maintain clean environments.

Standards of Cleanliness and Hygiene

On the topic of cleanliness, strict and thorough cleaning practices adopted by landlords and office managers to address concerns over the spread of illness should transition into standard operating procedures. Not only will these new systems prevent contamination and reduce employee sick days, but they will increase the trust and sense of safety that employees feel in the workplace.

Enhanced sanitation practices can also apply to employee policies, where the availability of disinfecting products and messaging around hand and respiratory hygiene are promoted throughout the office.

Employee Behaviour and Wellbeing


Physical distancing and increased personal space will likely become the norm, meaning office layouts and individual work stations will need to provide sufficient space for employees to work safely. Some businesses may consider shifting toward a flexible desk system rather than permanent workspaces – a system that would allow for deeper cleaning to occur on a regular rotation. Adapt your common areas like meeting spaces and lunchrooms to accommodate greater personal space.

Supporting the mental health and well-being of employees through crises should become standard in your office culture. Employee safety and security must be top priority. For example, eliminating the stigma associated with working from home when employees feel at risk of transmitting illness. Develop a contingency plan in case an outbreak were to occur in your workplace or community. Promoting a healthy work-life balance may also be a change to your office culture that would benefit employees who are struggling with expectations of productivity while working remotely.

With greater emphasis places on working remotely when symptoms of illness are present, fewer people may be present in the office on a regular basis. In general, consider whether all employees are needed in the office full-time, or if alternating staff working from the office and home would enhance your company culture. When employee well-being is top of mind productivity and team morale will follow, ensuring that time working in the office is well spent.

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