It’s understandable that social attachment builds trust and strengthens bonds. But our potential to adapt to working remotely is dependent on the relationships built over a period through Unplanned interactions and relaxed conversations that happen in person in a favorable environment.
The easygoing and shared spaces – or ancillary spaces – where we got together, cooperated, focused and rejuvenated, intensified our work experience before COVID-19 sent us all home. But when we return, will these spaces that we adored go away because of safety concerns? Or will they be revamped?
After a long phase of work from home , employees now observed the main reason they want to come back to the office is to be with other people, socialize and collaborate in ways that just aren’t possible by being isolated. That’s why a varied range of spaces in the office that support these work modes, and collaboration in particular, will emerge as new trends.But these spaces will have to develop now and for the near term to meet the new specifications of the post-COVID workplace.
Gathering together in the workplace to socialize and collaborate will be the substantial purpose that the new setting will fulfill.
Ancillary shared spaces in a work setting bring out a positive and warm energy into the office and promotes healthy competition among co-workers. These engaging spaces also affect performance and efficiency. Some attributes which make these social spaces more preferable would include- softer furnishings, lush materials, crafted finishes, and most of all should abide by covid social distancing criterias. In the current situation, shared spaces must shift towards supporting the physical distancing and cleaning protocols that are required to create a safer work environment. These spaces that employees most enjoy must be restyled or created to not only enhance productivity but to ensure that the people using them can be safe and feel safe too.
We’re aspiring to stabilize the need for captivating spaces with the need for safety.
Proximity and density go hand in hand – and pose some of the greatest design challenges for shared spaces that are intended to bring people together. The proximity of people-to-people must now consider adequate physical distancing. The proximity of people-to-technology and tools for meeting in open spaces must match the provisions of enclosed spaces and simultaneously accommodate remote participants. And the proximity of furniture-to-furniture must consider density and adjacencies in new ways – and cue distancing behaviors.
Privacy- coustical, visual, informational, territorial- is still critical to making today’s shared spaces productive. Each form of privacy contributes to creating a sense of psychological comfort and security helping people feel at ease, free to share ideas and make work visible. But territorial privacy takes on additional significance for safety. Screens, or adding division. Can not only help you claim a space but also create boundaries to protect users from people in adjacent workspaces or direct traffic flow.
Shared spaces can also further enrich employee wellbeing by design. They can make us feel better. A
range of postures can encourage active collaboration or relaxed conversation- reducing the physical stress that affects productivity. Introducing biophilia by bringing the outdoors in through living walls and natural materials , patterns and palettes can contribute to better health and wellbeing- both by improving air quality and connecting us to the calming effects of nature. And research is showing that being outdoors with access to fresh air is not just good for our state of mind but may be inherently safer than indoor environments due to air flow. Leveraging outdoor spaces to create areas for socializing and collaborating provides even greater choice for safer work environments.
As we study the new issues of creating safer work environments in the COVID_19 world, we’ve discovered the following three main design challenges- physical distancing, circulation patterns and spatial context. Understanding distancing and density. And their relationship to circulation patterns within an existing spatial context is the key to solving for the evolving safety guidelines in shared spaces.
Think of this as your personal 6ft/2m sphere in both static and dynamic environments. To maintain this distance from other people, each individual is responsible for their own sphere and how it intersects with others as people come together in shared spaces- or move through the office, furniture placement should provide adequate distancing to accommodate personal spheres.
Think of this as traffic flow through primary and secondary pathways- or main boulevards used by all and neighborhood side streets used by residents. People must be able to move through spaces while maintaining their personal sphere. Safe circulation through and around shared spaces can be addressed through their personal sphere. Safe circulation through and around shared spaces can be addressed through adequate width, directional traffic or additional shielding.
Every space is different. Understanding your spatial context is required to adapt and design shared spaces to solve for physical distancing and circulation patterns. Are settings in enclosed spaces with fixed walls, static furniture, restrictive ingress/egress and limited airflow- or in open spaces with more flexible arrangements and additional airflow? How densely populated are the spaces? How tight are the pathways- and are they through open spaces or through doors and true corridors? What needs to be adjusted to provide adequate space or shielding?