LOS ANGELES - Over the years, we’ve seen office spaces transition from cramped cubicles to open-floor plans to communal offices.
In the wake of the coronavirus and in the interest of physical distancing, business owners are forced to rethink how their offices are configured and even whether everyone will return to the office.
“We have space on the 5th floor and space on the 2nd floor and we're evaluating if we need all the space in the future,” says Joe Blackstone, CEO of Blackstone Consulting, Inc.
His West Los Angeles-based company is one of this country’s 31 million small businesses. Blackstone employs nearly 50 people who are now working remotely.
The remote work model has worked so well for BCI that Blackstone is considering downsizing his office space.
For those employees who do return, he says his current cubicle set-up doesn’t allow for physical distancing so he's thinking he'll have to block out every other work station and stagger schedules.
“Maybe we have someone who works Monday, Wednesday, Friday and they use work station #1. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays, there's another employee who uses work station #1. And then maybe the next week they flip,” says Blackstone. For business owners working to get everyone back in the office, a global commercial real estate services firm, Cushman & Wakefield, has designed the “Six Feet Office.
”The prototype includes a shared desk space with a plexiglass partition, ideas for one-way walkways to limit employee interaction, contactless elevators, and recyclable paper desk mats so employees start each day with a clean surface.