Trends in office design are always shifting and changing. From cubicle farms to open-office layouts, ideas about how to shape a team’s environment to get the best ideas and productivity to flow must always be in an architect’s mind. After all, anticipating the clients’ needs is the key to successfully securing a project.
With the need for social distancing in a post-pandemic world and a majority millennial/gen-z workforce that tends to work best collaboratively, coworking space design is an area of architectural design that needs to be a major focus going forward.
Adapting to the New Reality
Even as news of successful vaccines has given the world a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, the changes to how we work aren’t going away. Modern technology has made working from home a much simpler task for many industries. The days of needing everyone to be in an office are over. But what does that mean from a cowork design perspective?
First of all, the importance of intelligent office space has never been greater. Video conferencing capabilities must be incorporated into any modern office. Whether that means incorporating private rooms for individuals to conference in with a specific, on-brand background or putting together meeting rooms designed to facilitate full teams conferencing with clients, preparing a workspace to make use of video conferencing tech must be a high priority.
Another shift in design priority is the individual workspace. Because the location from which people are working is no longer quite so set-in-stone, coworking office design doesn’t need to be quite so rigid. Having a variety of spaces and surfaces where people can work allows for a greater number of workers to excel by placing themselves in an environment that best facilitates their productivity. Some people like a traditional desk. Some prefer a standing desk or even a treadmill workstation. Some offices are even making faux-coffee shop areas for people who have grown accustomed to taking a laptop into a booth with a cup of java and digging into a project.
What is important in all this is that no matter the type of environment a worker thrives in, there is a spot for them. This also allows for greater social distancing because you don’t have an entire team jammed together in assigned seats at a shared desk in an open-office plan. A team can be spread around an office and even be at home and still have ease of communication. But that only happens thanks to forward-thinking coworking office design.
Visible and Invisible Changes
Beyond the more esoteric aspects of coworking space ideas that were examined above, there are technical adjustments to design that must be looked at. Having a workforce that is spread out for safety and comfort and is video conferencing with greater frequency brings up a few issues that could fly under the radar.
Quality air filtration and circulation is an absolute must for companies in a post-pandemic world. Even with a covid vaccine for the general public on the way, a rollout is going to take time. Because Covid-19 is spread by airborne droplets, filtering and circulating air out of and into an office is extremely important. From a design point of view, that means factoring a high-quality HVAC system into your plans. Additionally, employees will likely need to remain masked for the foreseeable future.
Those two factors mean that sound quality must be factored into your coworking space design ideas. HVAC systems can be loud and masks can muffle even the loudest speakers. So installing materials that will absorb sound to reduce reverberation and make it easier to talk at conversational tones through a mask is very important.
Of course, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice aesthetic freedom for practicality if you don’t have to. Whether a more rustic look is called for or a more minimalist/industrial feel is desired, there are materials that can give you the freedom to design a space the way you want without sacrificing sound quality.
Safety Through Coworking Space Design
The pandemic has changed so many things about how we think about work and about what we need out of office space. Working from home is a viable and relatively simple option for many workers in several industries—so the office environment should be one that can give a worker peace of mind as well as an environment that is conducive to productivity.
By incorporating technology to facilitate remote work in a variety of ways, providing varied habitats for different types of workers, and focusing on attractive materials that aid in sound absorption to cover potentially loud air filtration and circulation machinery while facilitating masked communication coworking space design can do a great deal to make offices safer and more inviting.