In recent years, office space design has been transformed from closed to open. However, the pace
of change does not stop. The emergence of the COVID-19 has pushed the design of office space
to a "paradigm shift".
The outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic has deterred people from the office. For security reasons,
many companies encourage employees to work remotely. However, these are only temporary measures.
As an important place for employees’ interaction and collaboration, the office is irreplaceable. In order
to meet the needs of the post-epidemic era, open office space has been questioned and abandoned,
and closed space design has risen again... When the old paradigm is replaced by a new paradigm,
designers obviously can not copy the past design ideas but should get rid of the constraints of the
old thinking. Therefore, a "paradigm shift" is imminent.
What is “paradigm shift”
Paradigm is the way and perspective people look at things. It is subject to the fixed thinking framework
formed by experience or social environment, which determines how we look at things, what we see
things as, what we see in things, and what we ignore.
If a major event occurs in a field that changes or breaks the original assumptions and rules, it will
force people to make fundamental amendments to many basic theories of the discipline. For example,
when it is found that the earth is round rather than flat, previous understanding of various phenomena
on the earth should be reconsidered. The change of human cognitive model from "the earth is flat" to "
the earth is round" is a "paradigm shift".
Fundamentally, paradigm shift is the change of world view and cognitive perspective. It breaks the
original constraints and restrictions, and creates new possibilities for people's thoughts and actions.
Those who constantly realize the paradigm shift are those who constantly upgrade their cognition.
They can adapt to the changing environment faster and have more competitive advantages.
In 1962, Thomas Kuhn, a famous scientific philosopher, explained in detail the significance of perspective
change in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He called this shift of perspective paradigm
shift, and explicitly used the core concept of "paradigm" for the first time.
A paradigm shift approach to post epidemic
The biggest change in the post-pandemic workplace is the number of people coming in and out. The
facts of the past two years show that employees can work effectively at home and also collaborate
with colleagues through the network. Managers must understand that even if they take all measures
to ensure the safety and health of the office, some people are unwilling to return to workplace. The
survey shows that the office utilization rate is expected to decline by 50% after the epidemic.
In order to better adapt to this situation, we should consider setting up a "Touchdown Space" in the
office design, which is similar to a personal Silence Soundproof Pod or an office room, but is slightly
larger, and can accommodate one or two people. In Touchdown Space, there are complete office
equipment, including office desks, office chairs, lighting equipment, wi-fi, power sockets, as well as
other common office supplies such as notepads, ball pens, staplers... It can be said thatit is a small
office, which has the basic conditions required to complete the work, but does not belong to anyone.
In the case of reduced personnel density, some companies may only have 50% office desk occupancy.
After the Touchdown Space is set up, people can go there to work as needed during working hours.
The company does not need to reserve a dedicated desk for them.
Another solution is to cancel personal desks and plan the office space into an enlarged version of
Touchdown Space, which is similar to a "hotel" space. Each employee has a private locker to store
their own things, and they can go to work on a certain working day. Different types of working spaces
are configured in the office, including Silence Soundproof Pod, temporary work office, working cabin,
and collaboration room. At the end of each day's work, employees put their personal belongings in
their office locker before leaving work.
People are social beings. They can't leave the physical office, but they want to return there in safe and
healthy conditions to communicate with people. In the post epidemic era, it will be an important issue
for employers and designers to seriously consider how to create a comfortable workplace for employees
to adapt to various work scenarios and flexibly meet the needs of all classes.