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How Offices Are Preparing for Workers' Return

by Dave Hiller 05/10/2020

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As we reopen our businesses, sanitation and personal health security will be even more important. Business operations will be affected and how we interact with our fellow co-workers will change. Here as an article regarding possible changes ahead.


Offices are preparing their spaces for a post-pandemic world. Companies are bringing in thermal cameras, HVAC systems that can fight bad germs, contactless coffee machines, and more as employees prepare to return to office spaces in some areas of the country.

Marx Realty has been planning a $24 million renovation of its New York City building. Beyond just a touchless Purell dispenser in the lobby, it’s adding in antimicrobial materials throughout. It’ll also have thermal screening of visitors.

“What’s important about the COVID world is that people still feel comfortable and it feels warm and inviting when they enter the building, especially after being on the trains and buses and walking in their masks,” Craig Deitelzweig, CEO of Marx Realty, told The Real Deal. “Everyone wants a hospitality feel but now they will work together, six feet apart.”

Common touch points will be eliminated to reduce the spread of the virus. For example, employees will be able to use their personal phones to control elevators. A doorperson at the front of the building will eliminate another common touch point.

The company is also exploring adding ultraviolet light inside its HVAC systems, which is touted as being able to attack bacteria and viruses in the office air.

Also, couches and chairs in the lobby will be covered in a velvet cloth, designed to be easily cleaned.

“You may see companies begin to use more furniture that was intended for health care spaces because those products were designed to be more easily and reliably sanitized,” James Keenoy, president of Farrell Flynne, a furniture procurement specialist, told The Real Deal.

Architect Nabil Sabet, a group director at the global design firm M Moser, says the modern office will need to undergo several changes because of the pandemic. Sabet highlights the following physical changes that offices may need to consider:

  • Ventilation: More stringent ventilation strategies may be needed that combine extraction, air changes, and filtering and sterilizing recirculating air will be needed.
  • Hospital-grade sanitizing: Self-cleaning surfaces could become more commonplace; anti-microbial surfaces and materials will be incorporated throughout the office, and light fixtures with ultraviolet components will also be used to help prevent infectious material.
  • Technology: Laptops and a secure virtual private network that facilitate mobility and security will no longer be optional.
Welcome Back to Your Post-Corona Office. You Probably Won’t Recognize It,” The Real Deal (May 6, 2020) and M Moser Associates


About the Author

Dave Hiller



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