What will businesses look like as we move into the post pandemic world? Experts predict that while telework, virtual experiences, and on-line shopping will continue to grow, the need to connect, celebrate, and collaborate person-to-person will never go away.
One thing is very clear. In the new normal, safety – both regulated and as part of the customer experience – is currently the number one priority in designing distinctive spaces. Whether your buildings are used for offices, hospitality/retail, or multi-use, you need to look at the materials, space configuration and technology required to keep employees and customers safeWe also know that there can be a lot of missteps in designing for safety. Having a clear assessment and plan in place will save time and money. That’s where we can help. Since our inception, Sensory Six has been focused on spaces that promote wellness. We have upped our game considerably with the COVID-19 pandemic, and now have added even more resources and products to help you pivot smartly. Let’s take a look at some of the ideas for post-pandemic commercial design.
Air hygiene will increase in importance to help dilute human-to-human passage of airborne elements. This means using the latest air filtration systems as well as allowing outside air to enter through façades and windows. Additionally, a more horizontal zone approach to air distribution versus the typical vertical distribution may be more effective to control, monitor and distribute air.
Keeping surfaces germ-free through easy cleaning will be paramount. One strategy is to use smooth materials versus textured or porous ones. Antimicrobial materials that are used in hospitals will become more popular in offices, restaurants, and hotels. We will also see new materials emerging that prevent organisms from adhering to them, like those that mimic sharkskin.
Technology such as sensor-activated lights, elevators, doors, and bath fixtures will allow people to avoid touching surface. Disinfecting UV lights can clean not only equipment like keyboards but entire rooms overnight. Negative pressure rooms that are currently used in medical facilities or airport smoking rooms could now be used to contain germs in conference rooms.
Companies like Cushman & Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm, are looking closely at what office space will look like in the post-pandemic world. Their concept called the Six Feet Office uses bold colors, large circle designs and properly spaced desks to remind employees to stay six feet apart. Signage will also play a strong role in instructing employees to walk in one direction to ensure a safe flow of foot traffic.
In restaurants and hotels, less will be more as furniture is removed to allow more space for distancing. Partitions around restaurant seating and in offices will also add extra protection. Shared workstations in offices and side-by-side seating in bars may become a thing of the past.
Surprisingly, while foyers and lobbies in multi-use spaces, convention facilities, hospitals, and airports seem like they would be obsolete in post-pandemic design, in actuality they may be simpler to modify and adapt than other spaces because they are open. Scanning and sensor technology for temperature monitoring can make these spaces safer as well as regulating traffic flows to keep social distancing intact.
Modular and Flexible Buildings
Modular building systems that allow for pop-up, flexible, and adaptable spaces have been increasing in popularity over the last several years because of reduced development and construction costs. Fabricating and assembling building components offsite may offer a healthier alternative to traditional construction. Plus flexibility and speed may help businesses pivot quicker. For example, restaurants that now have to reduce seating or focus more on curbside and delivery could use modular components to reconfigure their space.
We are here to help. This is an opportunity to do it right, and we would very much like to help. Call us about how you can begin assessing what you need for safe post-pandemic commercial design and how to put a design plan in place.