Emerging Design Considerations in a Post Covid world
Prior to 2020, space-saving was a key motivation in many design processes. However, the pandemic, which introduced remote working and social distancing on a huge scale, has caused a considerable rethink. Among the questions being asked are whether personal freedom and wellbeing were previously sacrificed for the sake of efficiency. It’s in this post-Covid environment that we’re seeing a whole host of new emerging design considerations appear.
- Creating more space in the workplace. Employers now know that it’s possible to accommodate a much more flexibly employed workforce with large numbers of people working on a remote basis. This has the potential to change the way that emerging design is conceived so that workplaces are streamlined and decongested. Less furniture and fewer people, more open spaces and less equipment will allow for a more comfortable – and possibly more productive – environment that can be adapted to future change, such as the need to re-introduce social distancing.
- Elements of hospital design. This may sound a little strange but there are elements of the way that hospitals are designed that are emerging as considerations in the post-Covid world in which we operate. This is principally being driven by the idea that design may need to incorporate disinfection infrastructure to remain adaptable to future events. Considerations here may be something as simple as furniture coverings, wall hangings, doors and floors that are easy to disinfect, as well as isolation areas and systems that could be put in place to minimise microbial transmission in the future. We may also need to see many smaller additions, such as mask and sanitation stations and areas for oxygen supplies.
- A new approach to air conditioning. This is principally being driven by the need to minimise the potential for any kind of transmission via an internal air distribution system. To achieve this we could see air conditioning that is divided into zones, areas or floors to reduce the opportunity for community infection and ensure that an outbreak of anything in the building cannot spread. Key factors for integration will be the High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, which can be used with high energy ultraviolet light to kill any bacteria that might be present.
- Specific sanitation measures. The need for something like a sanitation tunnel to be introduced into the building design of the future will depend on whether this is the first of many pandemics – and whether Covid is likely to ever really go away. This could be just one of the design features that we find ourselves getting used to in the years to come.
There is a clear cost involved in this kind of design and that’s an expense that isn’t likely to be borne by governments on the whole. However, it’s measured like these that could keep businesses open and workforces on the premises if we do find ourselves in the middle of extreme pandemic conditions once again. That kind of business continuity could prove to be well worth the investment.