With 2021 on the horizon business people around the world are turning their attention to the future of business – and to the spaces where it will take place. The evolution of the office is already happening as companies adapt their office designs to accommodate new health and safety protocols in a changing world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated several commercial property trends that had established themselves over the past decade. The office design language of the future is likely to embody these characteristics.

Let’s take a virtual tour through an office of the future and find out exactly what will make it so different from today’s workspaces.

It’s all about connection

2020 has been described as the year when everyone learned to work from home. Now that employees are starting to return to the office in large numbers many companies are rethinking the purpose and design of their physical premises.

  • The future of work is likely to follow a blended approach. Tasks that can be done alone are completed from home or another location with the company’s physical premises being used for collaborative activities, high-level presentations and important client interactions.
  • Enticing workers to come into the office by choice will require simple changes to both management styles and office design.
  • This could mean fewer cubicles, desks and closed spaces and more areas where people can interact safely, share commercial ideas and get their creative juices flowing.

Designing a healthy work environment

The current pandemic is not yet showing signs of winding down in 2021 and experts are warning that disease outbreaks will become more frequent this century. 

As such, a fundamental evolution of the office space is likely to take place to help ensure the health and safety of building users. 

  • Materials like wood, steel and stone can act as breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria. They are likely to be replaced with synthetic materials while metals like copper and brass may be used for frequently touched surfaces since they have antibacterial properties.
  • A no-touch environment is the goal of many office designers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This could bring about changes including the elimination of fingerprint recognition scanners and lift buttons. 
  • Building users may be identified using retinal scans, smart identification tags and mobile apps which will allow them to access various parts of the building as needed. 

Decluttering for good health

With many businesses adopting a daily cleaning policy and sterilizing their offices to ensure the health and safety of the workers, the fight against clutter is ramping up.

In the near future employees may be required to maintain clean desks by bringing their own devices to work and keeping unnecessary desk items to an absolute minimum to ensure that the office is easy to clean and disinfect on a regular basis.

A policy of this kind could tie in perfectly with remote working by providing a clean open space where employees can complete their tasks when they come to the office. Assigned seating could also be phased out in favour of spacious shared workspaces that provide a venue for collaboration while ensuring social distancing measures.

Planning an evolution of the office in 2021?

If you’re planning to reboot your business in 2021, we would love the opportunity to assist you. Our team of area specialists is on hand to assist you in securing a safe, modern office space in the greater Cape Town area. Contact us today.