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What Will the Office of the Future Look Like?


Commercial office buildings are beginning to open, and COVID-19 vaccines are on their way, so can workers go back to their cubicles yet? Not so fast. 

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers toiling remotely during the pandemic want to keep doing so, according to a Gallup poll. For those who do return to the office, even if infrequently in months to come, the notion of return” will be different, according to Fortune, which explored five key changes coming to offices. There’s no going back to what was. The upheaval in commercial real estate allows tenants to be pickier about their needs, from open windows to lower employee-to-bathroom ratios. 

For example, design and ventilation really matter. Even after vaccines, real-estate experts predict a transition to close quarters after months of social distancing. This has kept the desire for office space about the same. Fewer people will be coming into the office or stagger schedules, but they want to maintain safe distances apart. 

Those who do return want to be healthy and safe and work in clean environments, and their concerns go beyond energy efficiency and sustainability. That includes cleaning protocols, upgraded air filters and filtration systems, occupancy maximums on elevators and directional signage within common areas and office spaces.

Dan Hounsell is editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

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