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The AIA Corporate Architects and Facility Management (CAFM) Knowledge Community consist of architects working within and for businesses and corporations. Our mission is to share expertise in the strategic, tactical, and operational activities of real property and facilities management in order to deliver value to the owners we represent. 

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Corporate space usage change after Covid19

  • 1.  Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-08-2020 09:18 PM
    What is your thought about change in corporate space usage as a consequence of Covid19? As I am hearing that companies are starting to request office space planning projects to add separation between employees, and planning to change current office space configurations.

    How do you think this pandemic experience will affect space usage and planning and to what extent? For new and existing corporate space? The end or transformation of flex office?, More flexible policies regarding remote work? Back to private offices? Changes to common shared office space? 

    Will companies need additional office space reducing density? or less by flexing work form home policies?

    Oscar Estigarribia Assoc. AIA
    Director Global Real Estate Facilities
    Boca Raton FL

  • 2.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-09-2020 10:20 AM
    All is being considered at this time. One thing is definite there will be a change to the workplace. How to come back to the workplace is a major consideration. How will it ramp up as people return. Another major concern is what will the workplace have to respond to pre-availability of a vaccine and post having a Covid19 vaccine. What happens if the virus returns in the fall? The story is still unfolding in terms of what the necessary requirements will be for the revamped workplace. Corporations, architects and furniture manufacturers are all looking at this now.

    Chauncey Jones, AIA
    Director Design and Construction

  • 3.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-12-2020 01:21 PM
    Thank you for your comments Chauncey.

    Oscar Estigarribia Assoc. AIA
    Director Global Real Estate Facilities
    Boca Raton FL

  • 4.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-19-2020 01:53 PM
    The workplace will undergo a fundamental change as our behavior will be altered per this pandemic. Telecommuting will be the first thing as employers will most likely phase in employees returning to work. Workstation sizes will be changed, the open office design will most likely be altered. Using fabrics as part of panels may change as there may be a need to disinfect surfaces. The biggest impact will be how the economy will affect corporate space usage.

    Andrew Thompson AIA
    County Architect
    Passaic County
    Paterson NJ

  • 5.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-21-2020 10:48 AM
    Thank you Andrew Thompson from NJ for your thoughts on the post Covid-19 office/workplace landscape will look like.  Thinking about this a lot lately as we're all working from home.

    The biggest question is how much remote working will be adopted.  This would likely depend on efficiency data compiled by the employers.  I'd suspect that the big tech companies, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Tesla etc., will be at the forefront as they are data driven and efficiency driven,  Does anyone have preliminary data from these or other companies? 

    If data shows that companies gain, stay even, or even slightly decline in efficiency when remote working vs. office working, there may be a move to reduce office space as office space costs money.  There are also ancillary costs of the workplace - tech companies typically provide meals, many convenience services ranging from daycare to laundry, transportation such as luxury shuttle coaches or transit passes - on top of the cost of rent, maintenance and utilities.

    If social distancing increases the spacing of employees, this also increase the  square foot space cost per employee.  The question is does the reduced density compensate for reduced employees working in offices in terms of the net need for office space?

    Regarding R&D and manufacturing social distancing will certainly encourage use of more robots and automation to reduce workers on the floor.  Question is what are the short term measures as reconfiguration and equipment increases are capital intensive in R&D and manufacturing facilities?

    Remi Tan, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
    Principal Architect
    Z&L Properties
    San Francisco Bay Area, CA

  • 6.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-21-2020 12:07 PM
    That is very good point regarding R&D and Manufacturing. As architects have moved into the realm of designing mega-warehouses, the next step will be to seriously think about robotics. The major problem is with the economic crisis, how would that look if we start taking away the possibility of unemployment by replacing people with robots? In planning an environment using robots, does that involve architects or would engineers step in that role?

    Andrew Thompson AIA
    County Architect
    Passaic County
    Paterson NJ

  • 7.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-22-2020 06:05 PM
    Robotics and AI replacing humans is a big issue.  That is why we need Universal Basic Income.  The one suggested by Andrew Yang in his presidential campaign is only a start and not nearly enough to support a worker. This means our national, state and local governments need to start Universal Basic Income programs paid for by taxes on excess corporate profits.  The main hurdle to this is most all of the elected politicians at national and state levels and some at local levels are at the mercy of corporate donors for their campaigns and they are not willing to bite the hand that feeds them.  Nothing will really change until we ban all corporate and high wealth individuals from donating to any campaigns or super pacs.  This is reforms that the late Senator John McCain was advocating for and now Senator Elizabeth Warren is trying but not getting much traction unfortunately, due to most politicians happy with the status quo.

    Remi Tan, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
    Principal Architect, Design Department
    Z&L Properties, Inc.
    San Francisco Bay Area, CA

  • 8.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-28-2020 11:51 AM

    I have more questions than answers, but here's a couple that seem out of step with other replies I've seen on this thread...


    How sure are we that the work environment changes to be anticipated as a result of COVID-19 will result in less open offices?  It seems like if forced to choose between "going back to working from home" and increased capital spending to create larger offices to better isolate people, most businesses are not going to choose the later now that they've been forced to try the former.


    And when it comes to lessons learned about contamination from the current pandemic, if COVID-19 were to be the guide, wouldn't it make more sense to use less hard surfaces instead of more?  It may seem counter-intuitive, but haven't all reports suggested this virus lives longer on hard surfaces than it does on more absorbent ones?


    Just observations & questions...


    Kim Otten AIA

    Good Samaritan Society

    Sioux Falls, SD


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  • 9.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-29-2020 08:35 PM
    Anticipating a vaccine will be developed within a year or so, it's likely the built environment will return to pre-COVID 19 standards as the public health threat becomes publicly perceived as manageable. Meanwhile, we should expect to be challenged to find temporary distancing & separation modifications to existing space configurations that can be quickly implemented without costly capital investment.

    Peter Dawson AIA
    Missouri City TX

  • 10.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-30-2020 05:42 PM

    That is a question I am wrestling with: How long until we forget?


    2022 COVID is gone and we are all going to games, concerts and shopping malls.  Are we distancing, wearing masks, even concerned about the "next virus"?    


    If not, are our project budgets going to support the added costs for specialized systems and design?




    Bradley S. Pollitt, AIA

    Vice President, Facilities

    UF Health Shands Hospital

    1600 SW Archer Road

    P.O. Box 100366

    Gainesville, FL  32610

    Office – 352.265.0088

    Fax – 352.265.0499




  • 11.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 05-01-2020 02:22 PM

    I agree. Memories are short. Two years of less from now things will be back to the way they were with a possible few exceptions.


    Art Balourdas AIA

    San Diego CA


  • 12.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-30-2020 08:40 AM


    You raise a couple of good points


    Regarding materials, I think we can look to healthcare design to influence office design, especially more easily cleanable materials (I.e. hard or impermeable surfaces, etc.) may be the way to go, at least initially.


    From a sustainability point of view, what are we going to do with the "excess" furniture that may be jettisoned in this process?



    Thank you


    Hank Pohl, AIA, LEED AP
    Associate Director/ Vice President
    1850 Towers Crescent Plaza, Suite 300

    Tysons, VA 22182

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  • 13.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-30-2020 04:41 PM
    I think clean-ability of workstations will come into play. The fabric does help with sound attenuation but I have workstation fabric panels cleaned after being in place for 5 years and I was shocked at the amount of dirt that came off.

    As retail spaces suffer from this crisis, there will be eventual spaces that would be ideal for a touch down space for people applying for work and excess workstations if applicable would be a low cost alternative to supply workstation (with new design guidelines).

    Andrew Thompson AIA
    County Architect
    Passaic County
    Paterson NJ

  • 14.  RE: Corporate space usage change after Covid19

    Posted 04-09-2020 05:55 PM