A senior planner has said that building managers and landlords should make use of atriums and breakout areas as a way to create more space in workplaces when they reopen to help building users stick to social distancing rules.
Emma Conwell, senior planner at Iceni Projects said that "with social distancing guidelines set to remain in place for the foreseeable future, there will likely be difficulties in returning offices and employees to their pre-COVID layouts. Subject to the same levels of staff returning, maintaining a 2m distance between employees will no doubt have significant impacts on office capacity".
Conwell told Facilitate that one solution could be for existing offices, especially tall buildings within the City mile, to start "maximising atriums and other office space into usable desk space".
Such workspaces had more breakout zones and areas like canteens which could be utilised.
By contrast, older office buildings may be "more constrained", she added, with FMs more likely to consider conversions and therefore "building upwards or into the basement" to create more space.
"Establishing revised 2m distance layouts will prove difficult for many yet easy for others" said Conwell. “It could be a time that businesses start considering applying for extensions to their physical space.”