Reimagining workspaces: Ushering in a new era of reforms

Workspaces are busy developing new behavioural and wayfinding signage while they design their reoccupation strategy in the post-COVID era

New Update

The rising numbers of COVID-19 infection and mortality rates continue to heighten fear, anxiety, grief, and question our collective social and economic future. The pandemic is perhaps the first incident in modern history where everyone faces a common existential threat. Never had we imagined that people across the globe will be forced to stay home, say no to travel, and follow social distancing. The large spike in job loss and the threat of economic distress have dramatically transformed the way of life.


This unprecedented reality has adversely affected our social and economic networks which are now being restructured. However, there is still no clarity as to how to reshape the overall structure and what the next normal will be. In this era of radical uncertainty, countries around the world are grappling to secure safe health outcomes for citizens and ensure that lifestyles and livelihoods are protected.

How Pandemic has Changed the Workplace Environment?

As social distancing takes precedence, people are forced to work from home. Dramatically transformed hygiene behaviours are prevalent across work cultures. The newly developed strategies implemented by businesses have started showing effect which has heightened the chances that companies will continue to re-design their business operations with a hope to regain capital and revenues in the long term.


The pandemic has resulted in the biggest work-from-home experiment. For many companies, it was their first experience as they neither had a work-from-home policy in place nor were they technologically equipped to function smoothly from home. What changes the pandemic will result in the long run is yet to be seen, but one thing is undoubtedly true - it has made the corporate world realise the importance of the right kind of office space for productivity and how an office is much more than four walls.

The Changed Priorities

Due to the economic slowdown in the short run, companies are investing heavily in their business continuity plans, with most of them keen to recoup capital by minimising costs. When cost minimisation becomes the priority, the first target is usually the high-ticket items like real estate. Most of the companies will resort to reducing long-term fixed leases. When maintaining healthy cash flow is the priority, supplementing existing workspace with flexible co-working space is an effective long-term solution.


Spatial Alterations

While traditional offices will continue to exist, what becomes inevitable is a reduced concentration of staff in such spaces. The notion of putting 5,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past for a long time now. According to research by Global Workplace Analytics, it is expected that up to 30 percent of the workforce will continue to work from home some days a week post-pandemic. The behaviour to work in an A- and B-team structure in the companies might stick.

While the need for more space becomes inevitable, we might see wider corridors and more partitions between departments. Workspaces are busy developing new behavioural and wayfinding signage while they design their reoccupation strategy. Giving people simple signals as to where they should sit, walk and stand will help users in many ways.


Smart Technology

We might see a rise in the adoption of smart office technologies that streamline interactions between employees such as automating touchpoints - sanitary system, doors, attendance system and elevators. This contactless but high-interaction workspace architecture complements Gartner’s pre-pandemic predictions which say that by 2023, a quarter of worker interactions with the software will be voice-mediated.

Summing It All


In response to the pandemic, both the office, as well as, our ways of working are changing. A flexible workspace or real estate strategy is the need of the hour, the one which provisions flexibility in workspace size, lease terms, and operational capacity.

No matter what happens and how the things get re-shaped, communication and genuine understanding of concerns and challenges remain the key. Wherever businesses choose to move forward post-pandemic, professionals will surely place greater value on their flexibility.

By Paras Arora, CEO and Founder, Qdesq