I used to watch a bit of Star Trek as a kid. I wasn’t a hardcore “Trekkie”, but the show kept me amused when I wasn’t playing football, and I always loved the idea that Scotty could “beam me up”.
I reckon a lot of businesses today would love the ability to “beam you up”. As this pandemic grabs hold in every corner of the planet, it’s become more and more apparent that we are massively underprepared for social distancing, yet alone social distancing in the workplace.
Buildings have traditionally been built to bring people together, under one roof, with increasingly close proximity to each other. And have you ever seen a photo of the economy section of an airplane in the 60s compared to the sardine can layouts of today?
We have evolved to the point where we pack as many people in offices as we can, maximising efficiency and reducing the space given to the workforce.
So how on earth do these buildings adapt to the new normal post COVID? What is a COVIDSAFE office going to look like? Just think about the congregation of people in a typical high rise office lift lobby.
We will never be able to guarantee another pandemic isn’t around the corner. SARS, MERS and now COVID 19 has proven that. But we can prepare better. We need to prepare better.
And to that end, the design, structure and safety of buildings simply has to change. And that’s going to be a lot easier and more cost-efficient in new buildings than old ones.