For many years, the density of office space has continued to rise. Often, cubicle rows line the floors and the height of cube walls has been lowered to create a more open layout. The open layout inherently poses challenges to helping people feel comfortable moving forward.
Office floors will likely have one-way walking paths as well as separate entry and exit doors where feasible. Employee interaction with everything in the office space — door handles, light switches, countertops, copy machines, TVs, coffee makers and all other communal items — will need to be rethought.
Conference room size will need to be reduced, while small team or huddle rooms might be converted into offices. Potentially, some cubes may be blocked to create more distance between employees. Shared offices or workspaces will need cleaning procedures and thinking through what lunch time looks like in the building will be important.
Most challenging will be common spaces, which are often controlled by the management company. Preventing backups, determining where to stand while waiting for an elevator and how many people can go into each elevator will all be issues that need to be addressed. What may result is a coordinated effort to stagger arrival and departure times of bigger office buildings to reduce the likelihood of logjams.
Federal, state and local authorities will dictate whether temperature checks are necessary, face masks are required, and how many people can meet together. However, individual companies will need to figure out how to implement those requirements in their workplace and, more importantly, how to make employees and customers feel comfortable coming back in order to work and shop.