What Will COVID-19 Do To Our Offices and Homes?
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
Navigating through 2020 has certainly felt like entering a brave new world! For many of us, it has been an unprecedented period of upheaval and change. But what about the future? Will we be business as usual by 2022, or has COVID-19 changed the fabric of our lives as we know it?
To be honest, it’s hard to know what the future will look like when the current climate is changing as fast as the weather. But that didn’t stop BBC’s Data Journalism Team from predicting the future in a recently published article. Here’s what the BBC thinks might be in store:
Fast Forward to the Year 2025
The BBC article starts by illustrating a day in the life of Laila, an office worker who is still working from home 4 days a week by the year 2025. From staggered employee workdays to touchless elevators, her world looks markedly different from the one we’re used to before she has even sat down at her desk.
Over the course of the day, we discover that her office is infinitely more virus-resistant than the offices of today: surfaces are antimicrobial, desks are carefully distanced, and even hallways are widened to allow employees to pass each other at a safe distance.
Most of Laila’s day is spent in meetings — the only reason she really needs to go into the office at all. Finally, she goes back to her house in the suburbs. A longer commute, but since it’s only once a week, Laila can save some money while enjoying more space. She’s still perfecting her home office, but otherwise, she’s well-situated to telecommute the rest of the week.
How Realistic Is This Vision?
Of course, Laila is a work of fiction — and so is the world she inhabits, for now at least. But according to the BBC, a few features of Laila’s life will almost certainly come to pass in our own. Those include:
1. A Shift Away From the City
When air quality and disease become an issue, people tend to flock away from crowded urban centers, and towards the suburbs — a shift we have already seen in the last few months.
2. Working With Work From Home
Not only is working from home more convenient in some ways, it’s also more economical for many companies, once you’ve overcome the growing pains of change. That being said, not everyone is set up to work from home successfully. BBC predicts that home office design will be on the rise, with more people choosing to build a dedicated space for work in their home.
3. The Rise of Touchless Tech
Many of us didn’t realize how many public surfaces we touch in a day before the pandemic. According to BBC, touchless tech will be a big player in the near future, making it easier to come into the office without touching 50 different surfaces between your door and your desk.
4. Reconsidering the Open Plan
According to BBC, COVID-19 isn’t necessarily a death knell for the open plan office space — but it’s certainly a challenge. Creative problem solving — like separating desks with plants — will be a must if our beloved open plans are going to survive.
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