What Our Socially Distanced Workspaces Might Look Like

The architecture firm Gensler created an app to help businesses repurpose their spaces.
What Our Socially Distanced Workspaces Might Look Like
Image credit: Courtesy of Gensler

Franchise Your Business

Schedule a FREE one-on-one session with one of our Franchise Advisors today and we’ll help you start building your franchise organization.
Magazine Contributor
Features Director at Entrepreneur.com
3 min read

This story appears in the July 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In 1931, in the midst of the polio epidemic, the Swiss architect Le Corbusier finished his famous Villa Savoye, on the outskirts of Paris. When you walk into the building, the first thing you see is a stand-alone ceramic sink. Todd Heiser has been thinking about that sink a lot lately. 

“It encouraged people to have good hygiene,” he says. “Moving forward from this pandemic, I think we’re really going to see a refocus on zoning and what happens when we come into a .” 

Heiser is a co–managing director of the Chicago office of Gensler, a global firm that has created a data-driven tool called ReRun to help businesses reimagine their offices to accommodate new social distancing guidelines based on their individual space, staff size, and advice from the CDC and the WHO

Related: The Surprising Ways Your Office Design Shows You Trust Your Employees

“Depending on what your space can absorb, you may only want to bring back 25 percent of people to the office,” Heiser says. But capacity isn’t the only concern. Some clients are worried about open floor plans, while others are just as fearful of enclosed spaces: Doorknobs have become the new enemy.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Gensler

“We’ve been hearing that many of our users don’t want as many doors on rooms,” Heiser says. “So we’re actually creating something that’s a mix between an office and a workstation. We’re calling it an ‘officle.’ Or we’ll pull the doors off a conference room and use that as an additional workspace.” 

Related: Peek Inside the Mind-Blowing Offices of the Most Successful Startups In History: Spanx, Uber, Warby Parker and More

Heiser envisions a that will embrace facial recognition technology to grant touch-free access to workspaces, and anticipates a refreshed demand for automatic doors, intuitive systems, and even infrared temperature sensing. He knows that will be a big part of our business culture moving forward, but he mostly feels optimistic about the future of the office and how employees exist within it. 

“This pandemic has created a new sense of essentialism,” he says. “It’s made us value the power of human connection, and also to ask, What do we really need? Why do we need to go to an office? We’re probably going to realize we don’t need some of the things we thought we did.”

More from Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur Select: A Fund For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs require more than just money, which is why we aim to empower you, as well as act as a catalyst for value creation.

Through 5/27/21, save on our collection of recommended social media books, including:
  • No B.S. Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing
  • Ultimate Guide to Youtube for Business
  • Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising
  • And more
Try a risk-free trial of Entrepreneur’s BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan for 60 days:
  • Get step-by-step guidance for writing your plan
  • Gain inspiration from 500+ sample plans
  • Utilize business and legal templates
  • And much more

Latest on Entrepreneur