What Offices Will Look Like Post-Pandemic

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Halfpoint / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Some office workers haven’t been back to their usual workplaces since March 2020. And when they return, their offices could look a lot different than before.

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“The one thing that we know for sure is that ‘back to normal’ in the workplace is going to be anything but normal,” Brett White, CEO of Cushman & Wakefield, told CNBC. “The protocols that we’re going to need to implement in offices and industrial (and) retail buildings in which we operate are completely changing.”

From spaced-out desks to revised office etiquette, here’s what workplaces could look like in a post-pandemic world.

Last updated: March 15, 2021

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More Touchless Conveniences

Offices may make a conscious effort to reduce the surfaces you need to touch throughout the day. For example, you might have automatic doors at the building entrance or voice-activated elevators that don’t require you to touch any buttons.

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Spaced-Out Desks

Open office plans may become a thing of the past — at least in the way it exists now. Expect desks to be more spaced out, with physical dividers between workspaces.

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Less Crowded Common Areas

Meeting rooms and kitchens may have fewer chairs than before to prevent group meetings from being too large. These rooms will also likely be cleaned more frequently than before the pandemic.

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Fewer People in the Office

As a way to both keep employees safe and cut costs, employers might downsize their office spaces and allow people to split their time between working from home and working in person, or have entire teams continue to work from home permanently.

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Sanitizing Stations

WeWork announced that it would be adding “complementary sanitization stations throughout all high touch point areas” to its co-working spaces, and this is likely something other offices will be implementing too.

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One-Way Hallways

Be prepared to take a longer walk to the restroom or water cooler. Some offices may implement one-way hallways to help keep employees distanced from each other while away from their desks.

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No Handshakes

Even in a post-pandemic world, people will likely still be wary of having any unnecessary physical contact. Handshakes could be replaced by elbow bumps or perhaps just a head nod.

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Fewer Coughing and Sneezing Co-Workers

Prior to the pandemic, coming into the office sick was pretty commonplace. Now, employers will likely encourage people to stay home if they are feeling unwell, so there should be less germy colleagues coming into the office.

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