How will office space change post Covid 19?

11 May 2020


Studies have shown that prior to the Covid 19 crisis, office workers were expressing dissatisfaction with their workspaces.

In their August 2019 report “What office workers want”, Savills¹ found that 80% of offices in the UK and Europe had an open plan layout. However, the report notes that only 48% of were satisfied with the comfort of their work areas. The report also notes that 19% of office workers would like to spend the majority of their working time at home.

office space changes driven by demand

During the crisis, so many of us are homeworking out of necessity, and Government data shows that 49% of working adults worked from home between 3rd and 13th April 2020. In fact, Twitter have recently announced that it will be entirely each employee’s decision as to whether they return to the office at all. This has left vast amounts of office space empty, or at best, under-utilised.

When office workers do return to their offices, it is very likely that social distancing restrictions will still be in place, and may even become the future normal. Office space changes are likely to be significant in the layout of office space to ensure 2m separation zones, safe circulation areas including lifts, canteens, and kitchen areas and more rigorous cleaning and hygiene protocols.

The use of shared desks, coworking or “hot desking” may not be feasible, and may signal the end of this practice, which would be appreciated by office workers, as Savills found that 60% preferred their own dedicated desk. These office space changes in layout and practice will reduce the number of workers who can safely operate in their current offices, as fitting as many people as possible into one location won’t be as acceptable as it used to be². And with the acknowledged attraction of homeworking, many employees may prefer to be based at home for part of the week.

² from-home-design-architecture-real-estate