As companies reopen, a Gallup survey found that about 60% of Americans would prefer to continue working remotely as much as possible and some companies plan to do the same. In addition to rethinking the open office plan, businesses can explore flexibility such as collaborating virtually instead of physically and ways to foster relationships. Pri Shah, a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management notes, this experience “might empower people to actually create environments that could be better suited for their lifestyle and personality.”

Restarting factories is instrumental to the economy. Safety measures include a weld curtain that hangs over the chassis line at FCA’s Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Michigan to protect employees from the spread and transmission of coronavirus and a break table at Fiat Chrysler’s Warren Stamping Plant in Michigan that includes barriers to protect workers.

Working from home is not feasible for everyone. In some European nations, many people have never worked remotely and access to ultrafast fiber broadband is not widespread. For those who work in manufacturing, construction, or service industries working from home is not an option.

Betsy Vohs from Studio BV shares challenges of redesigning offices for social distancing in this article. The photo shows screens being placed in-between desks to increase safety. The question is how do you increase space when over the past decade, the average space per employee has decreased nearly 10%, to less than 193 square feet, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Air ventilation, temperature control, lighting, and noise are now more important than ever in workplaces environments. According to John Macomber, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School, security will also take additional dimensions, monitoring not just through metal detectors but also infrared scanners at building entrances which will take visitors’ temperatures. See also here.

Cushman & Wakefield started exploring what the 6’ office would look like for a new normal, through potential spatial arrangements, rules of conduct, and cleanliness standards. Submitted by Dr. Abimbola Asojo.