After Coronavirus, Say Goodbye to Offices as You Knew Them

By: Greg Beaubien
Jun. 1, 2020
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When the coronavirus threat subsides, many employees returning to American workplaces will find their offices transformed, human resources and real estate executives say.

As The Wall Street Journal reported on May 11, possible office changes include elevator floors marked with boxes where people may stand, elevators allowing only one passenger at a time and requests that staff take the stairs.

Desks, which were packed together in open floor plans for years, will be spread apart, some covered by plastic shields. Office perks such as snack containers, coffee bars and elaborate gyms will likely remain closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Infor, a New York-based cloud-software company, reportedly will ask all of its employees to wear masks while working. Discover Financial Services in Riverwoods, Ill., near Chicago, might seat employees at every other workstation. In some of its offices, hallways and stairwells will become one-way. Small conference rooms will be closed. If the company decides to check the temperature of every arriving employee, then it might stagger their arrival times to avoid crowds in building lobbies.

At its offices in Los Angeles and New York, Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate-services firm, will erect Plexiglas dividers between desks and paint circles on floors to show how far apart workers should be. Advertising agency McCann Worldgroup might assign letters to employees, allowing each group to come into the office on different days of the week.

“All our agencies are open floor plans and that was a great idea in the past, but it now works against us,” says Harris Diamond, chief executive and chairman of McCann Worldgroup.

photo credit: yagi studio