Hopes are mounting that the pandemic will start to ease in 2021, but the effects of several lockdowns and the advent of a new “corona lifestyle” is set to have a long-term impact on the way we work. 

While the pandemic has created the need for a work-from-home environment, there is little doubt that the office space is critical for connection and innovation. As people return to the office, one thing is certain though: it won’t be business as usual where interior design and layout is concerned. 

Creating a safe, collaborative environment for team members who are keen to return to a semblance of normal working life should be every company’s first priority in the post-pandemic era. 

The interior design of every office has a role to play in realising this goal and staying ahead of the commercial property trends this year. Going back to the office in 2021 means re-evaluating your space and employing innovative office interiors and concepts.

Keeping teams together – at a safe distance

2020 saw millions of people rushing to adapt to work-from-home practices, with many companies welcoming the day when they can reboot their physical premises and regain lost productivity. 

  • One of the main complaints that employees and management have voiced is the absence of collaboration, strong workplace relationships, and chance encounters over coffee or at corporate events that spark innovation and produce superior results. 
  • The human need for social interaction and our tendency to do better work in teams is a key factor in the competitiveness of every business – but it will need to be resumed in a way that prioritises safety and puts businesses in a good position to deal effectively with future pandemics. 

Innovative Office Interiors – Designs and Concepts

Modular office designs that keep team members visible and within reach without compromising anyone’s health are one of the ways to achieve this crucial balance. 

  • The days of open-plan offices with aircon running 24/7 are truly over. Going forward, businesses will need to rethink their office designs with an emphasis on hygiene and social distance.
  • Transparent panels and “think pods” are two popular design features that are emerging in buildings that are reopening after extended periods of lockdown and work from home protocols. These modular spaces allow staff to be ‘safely contained’ without being totally closed off in enclosed private spaces. They can also be reconfigured to fit requirements.
  • Hot desking, which requires employees to use the first available space and not have assigned workspaces, is another method that is easy to test in the workplace without incurring high costs 
  • Outdoor areas are ideal places for quiet tasks and South Africa’s climate is extremely hospitable to this type of working arrangement for at least 6 months of the year

In addition to these innovative interior designs and measures, workplace policy design is also essential where employee safety is concerned. Mandatory mask-wearing, hand sanitisation, and temperature checks can help identify potentially ill building users and help them to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Office design is an investment that pays off 

In an era when health and safety have become a top priority, interior design is about more than just impressive appearances – it can literally save lives. 

To keep pace with commercial property trends in 2021, landlords will want to consider working with an interior designer to produce office spaces that look good, function well, and help to ensure the safety of all building users during the pandemic and beyond. 

If you’re on the lookout for safe, modern business premises in Cape Town, our team of area specialists would love to hear from you. Contact us today.