It’s becoming clear to all of us that life in a post-pandemic world will never be completely the same. Getting back to normalcy is something we all want and anticipate, however even as the country begins to reopen, it has been altered in ways that will likely remain permanent. The “new normal” will invariably be different from the old normal in many facets of life. However, taking both a realistic and an optimistic point of view, it is also safe to assume that many changes will be for the better!

The once hot coworking industry has been affected greatly during the pandemic. There’s no doubt that companies are eager to resume working from office environments once it is safe to do so, but it is likely that employers, employees and other professionals will view collaborative work environments through a new lens going forward.

The benefits of renting office space in a shared workplace environment are vast. For years, small professional teams have benefited from environments that balance shared community with the privacy of individual offices dedicated to their team. Flexible lease terms, on-demand conference rooms and the ability to work from multiple locations have long been attributes that set our industry apart, and it is likely that this will continue to be the case in the future.

Nonetheless, work life will be different, and hopefully changed for the better. Below we’ve put together  a list of some of the key work life changes that we should all expect to see in a post COVID19 world:

New building, management, and office safety standards

The idea of going back to business as usual - with streams of carefree people flowing into and out of office buildings every rush hour, packing into commercial elevators and high-fiving their coworkers, is far away at this point. A key to making people feel safe and comfortable at work again starts with the very buildings we work in. New procedures such as access to lobby hand sanitizers, more thorough cleaning and sterilization of lobbies and elevators, and temperature checks in lobbies will likely be the new standard in class A and B buildings. 

In shared office and coworking facilities themselves, new workplace standards are already in the works. Premier Workspaces, one of the largest shared office space providers in the country, is putting into place some innovative and forward-thinking solutions. Some of these solutions include:

  • Requiring staff to complete temperature checks every morning when coming in to work, and Infrared thermometers will also be available to all tenants upon request.

  • New sanitation stations being added to common areas, and floor markers to the reception, kitchen and copy areas to assist with social distancing.

  • Mail and package collection will be touchless. 

  • A steady supply of masks for tenants behind the front desk.

  • Common area seating has been adjusted throughout floors, and meeting room capacities have been reduced by 50%

  • Shared/open food will no longer be permitted in the common areas. 

Effectively communicating new policies with tenants is just as important as the new policies themselves. Premier for example is sending brochures outlining their new changes to all of their tenants. Assistance from tenants themselves in adhering to new guidelines is key to re-establishing work environments where everyone feels comfortable and safe coming back into the office.

Staggered workforces and expanded virtual procedures

Our collective efforts during the pandemic has raised our awareness of the effectiveness that social distancing has on preventing the spread of germs, and this awareness  will likely last long after our country recovers from CoronaVirus. We will likely see shifts to overall safer workplace guidelines, including staggering workforces and increasing the number of employees that are allowed to work virtually on certain days. 

Staggering employee hours is a great way to prioritize different departments and/or regions at different times, and also helps to thin out rush hour commuting, making things safer for everyone. Allowing certain employees to work remotely at times is also a great way for an employer to regulate the number of employees in the office at any given time, while at the same time creating extra space in the office whenever needed. 

While procedures such as these don’t mean that the demand for physical offices will decline, it will naturally allow for a greater square footage per person, which will make employees and employers alike feel safer and more comfortable coming into work everyday.

New social norms in the workplace 

Many of the new social norms that will likely occur in the workplace may be carryover from changes people make in their personal lives as well. During the last few weeks most people have been practicing social distancing etiquette that promotes cleanliness, sterilization and respect of others’ personal space. There is a newfound respect for how easily germs can spread that goes beyond the Corona Virus, and it is likely that we will see less hand shaking, self-congratulatory meetings, neater/tidier workspaces, and more personal space between coworkers and colleges. Zoom/Google meetings over to face-to-face ones may also be the new norm, at least for a while. Spreading out lunch hours may also become more commonplace. 

We will also likely see a trend towards a greater reliance on virtual services. Many employers are realizing that virtual services can be just as effective as in-house management. Concepts such as virtual assistants and workforces have long been effective systems to implement into an organizational structure, and the current situation could very well spread this activity further.

In Conclusion

These changes in workplace conditions, just like other changes we will all invariably go through, are nothing to fear. In fact, many of them will be for the better. Think about it … cleaner and safer buildings and workspaces, staggered work hours leading to easier commutes, more square footage per person, the ability to work from home … all coupled with the fact that there will still be high demand for physical workspaces means that the industry will change for the better. We are certainly not out of the woods, and it will for sure take us all a while to bounce back, but resiliency is human nature, and companies will be stronger than ever before!

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