The office in Phase Two, between the farewell to the open space and those who just don't want to go back

The “all together passionately” with collaboration and creativity that was the philosophy of the open space in the office may have been definitively canceled by the pandemic . The return to life in phase two after isolation is bringing about many changes and jobs are not immune from these changes.

At the University of California there are already offices in which transparent protective barriers have been mounted between the desks. They could arrive in many other spaces so far open, with the desks in contact with each other, without walls dividing the workstations.

There are those who celebrate for the return of privacy, but it is above all a question of security in the post Covid era 19 , although experts say that the virus free office does not currently exist. How the flu was taken from the desk neighbor 16% of the transmissions according to a US survey of 2016) so there is a risk, without adequate distances and protections, of taking this coronavirus.

Then comes the request for barriers (also the municipal theater of Bologna uses its workers to supply companies) and personal spaces («cubicles« already have them called) and the request to stay home at the slightest symptom. In the new offices goodbye to shared desks, no elbow to elbow and no exchange of pens, rubbers and other materials.

The solution for many companies that don't have the ability to make big changes is for employees to stay and work from home. And these want to stay. The New York Times tells of a shared feeling: many working people liked smart working . For some there is the anxiety of returning to the office, the fear of getting sick and at the same time the fear of not finding the old normal again.

Better therefore the new house normality that has brought a greater productivity without unnecessary meetings, less time lost in transfers and less pollution. Christine Reilley, before the lockdown, woke up at 4 and 30 in the morning to take the bus to Manhattan, where she works as sector manager innovation of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. “Now I am more rested and I save time and money,” she told the newspaper.

All of course, however, with the schools reopened for those with children since all statistics say that the life of working mothers has worsened with remote work. Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, speculates that workers will look for a good middle ground between remote work and office presence . “Any kind of flexibility is sought by workers”.

A search Gallup says that the 60% of Americans would prefer to keep work remote. In Italy the research company EasyHunters asked the same question, finding a similar division. Francesca Contardi, managing director of the company, explains: «The first data that emerges from the investigation is the clear rift between those who want to return (the 44%) and who would prefer to stay at home (56%) “.

More than 80%, however, would like to continue smart working for at least a few days a week . The 90% of the employees surveyed then ask companies to rethink the company organization, spaces and use of devices to be able to work better, even away from the offices. The main fear is in the presence of asymptomatic colleagues (64, 7%), followed by the possibility of getting infected by taking public transport (40%).


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