When construction analysts issued projections of design and building trends in early 2020, none of them anticipated the coronavirus pandemic, which threw a heavy wrench in the engine of economic activity around the world. While many of the projected trends are still valid, quite a few have been amended in order to reflect what the near future will hold until a working vaccine is developed and administered.
How does Office Layout Affect the Spread of the Pandemic
Prior to the declaration of the pandemic, office workers used to spend more than a third of their day in the workplace. Social and physical distancing restrictions have sharply reduced the time employees are spending in the office; they are now working from home as much as possible, and they will want to be able to practice distancing once they return. The open office floor plans that were very popular from about 2005 to 2015 have fallen out of favor because of contagion concerns.
Changes to Office Spaces to Prepare for the Future
In retail spaces, the new emphasis is on minimizing contact and maximizing hygiene. The experimental Amazon Go convenience stores are looking pretty good to shoppers who are very conscious of the need to establish social distancing, which happens to be one of the best measures to mitigate contagion. While Amazon Go has undergone trials in recent years, the autonomous store concept was fully adopted by some retail chains in China as early as 2016, particularly in metropolitan regions with a history of infectious diseases.
We have already been moving towards a future where self-service stations feature more prominently in retail spaces. The pandemic has greatly accelerated this trend, and it has added the elements of hygiene and disinfection. As for the previous trends of sustainable construction, smart offices, and dynamic workplaces, they have not changed; in fact, they are more valid than ever because they are suitable to the new requirements that the pandemic has imposed on commercial structures.