Real Estate

Global corporations use pandemic time to rethink workplaces

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on May 14, 2021

‘Agile workplace, unassigned seating, and activity-based work model will change the future of real estate’

Ever imagined how your workplace might look like in the post-pandemic world? Well, you may think it’s too early for such a scenario, as the pandemic doesn’t seem to be letting off its grip so easily. But companies, known for their farsightedness, are already working on the future workplaces.

With employees largely working from homes since the onset of the pandemic, several global corporations and tech majors are using this opportunity to rethink and redesign their workplaces to make them agile and nimbler.

Also read: Global companies to reinvent office for life beyond the pandemic: Knight Frank report

“We have already done a huge reboot programme for the World Bank and a lot of other clients. After the onset of the pandemic, we have worked with Verizon, which completely restructured and re-built its entire office with proper Covid-19 norms,” said Ananiah Livingston, Director, Business Operations of Space Matrix for the Chennai region.

Similarly, the company is also designing Legato Health’s five-lakh sq ft facility in Bengaluru and a three-lakh sq ft facility in Hyderabad as per Covid-19 norms with safe distance seating, antimicrobial wall paintings and other facilities to ensure safety and hygiene of the employees.

Space Matrix is a multinational design consultancy and workplace strategy provider based out of Singapore. The company operates in over 80 cities across 15 countries. In India, it has done interior design projects and has offered workplace strategy for marquee brands like Ford, AstraZeneca, Flextronics, World Bank, Renault-Nissan, SAP Labs and Abbott to name a few.

Livingston, who handles Chennai, Bengaluru and Kerala markets for Space Matrix, said agile workplace, unassigned seating, and activity-based work model will change the future of real estate.

“We incorporated an agile workplace for AstraZeneca in Bengaluru seven to eight years back, where there will be no fixed seats for employees, but seat assignments are done through a booking system. Today, that is catching up everywhere,” Livingston said.

From safe distance workstations to desk booking mechanisms and crowd management systems at pantries and networking lounges, companies are deploying technology to ensure their employees are maintaining safe distance at their workplaces at all times.

Also read: Flexible workspaces in cities, suburbs set to pick up

“We can also have a chip inserted in the ID cards of all the employees so that whenever people get closer than six feet, it will beep,” Livingston said.

Livingston, however, added that more than 40 per cent of all businesses have been impacted since the onset of the pandemic.

“40-50% of our clients are impacted badly. Some of them have given up their office spaces and adapted to remote working,” Livingston said, adding, “but there are clients who have not succumbed to the situation. They want to invest in the new way of working so they are either making temporary changes or breaking their existing office to redesign them entirely.”

Published on May 14, 2021

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