Is this the end of open offices? How are workspaces evolving? Covid 19 pandemic has affected our lives in many aspects. The first stage of this was human relations, and the second stage was our relationship with places. Therefore, architectural practices inevitably followed suit. So, what awaits the offices where working people spend a significant part of their daily life?
For years, designers have been emphasizing the importance of natural lighting, ventilation, and being connected to nature to improve employee health and productivity. During the Covid 19 pandemic, these concepts became much more meaningful. Various global studies since 2020 point to several different outcomes about the new office layout. The benefits of light and fresh air were already known, and the experience of the last 1.5 years only served to reinforce that. Therefore, one of the prominent elements of the new office architecture is the use of outdoor space. Although the climate is an effective issue in terms of integrating outdoor spaces into the offices; It seems that balconies, gardens, and terraces will no longer be exclusively for smokers. More effective incorporation of open spaces into workplaces is just one of the anticipated changes. Researches show that the main differences in architecture will be in elevators, corridors, stairs, open office layout, plus building entrances and exits.
Architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm Gensler’s surveys of office workers reveal that people do not want to completely disconnect from the office environment. Janet Pogue McLaurin, Gensler’s global head of workplace research, says office experience will vary for employees with different work routines. Aiming to switch to a hybrid work model after the epidemic, Gensler tries to understand how people work best individually and as a team and develops design strategies that will provide the best experience for everyone. For this reason, they explore ways to make workplaces more flexible and responsive. Zoning the floors differently, designing mobile furniture that will allow people to work independently or as a team when desired are some of these… According to McLaurin, the use of smart building technologies will also thrive after the epidemic. In particular, touchless environments, smart ventilation systems, and technologies that allow remote management of all kinds of building facilities will continue to develop rapidly.
Restricting the number of people in elevators, elevators that go to the desired floor by identity recognition, with more and more functional stairs in design are different solutions emerging for multi-employed buildings… Transition to rotational working, changing open office settings with more distant individual work stations, organizing remote working or working from the office schedules according to the conditions of different teams, and designing the workplace in line with this organization are also among the innovations we will encounter in the coming days.
* Information from archdaily.com, architectmagazine.com, BBC Turkish and Assembly Buildings sites were used in this article.