SHORT TERM

 

Getting back to work and - more importantly - feeling good about it, is going to take an effective short term strategy. 

The anxieties about contracting the Covid-19 virus may outweigh the actual risks, but the risks are real and serious and will be on every employee, visitor and manager's mind as people return to work. 

SKB believes that it is essential to involve professionals and scientists who work in the fields of Virology and Industrial Hygiene, who not only understand the real risks and effective mitigation but are also keeping current with the actual research and developments in dealing with this virus. 

The approach SKB recommends is that the science expert evaluates the plans and actual facility, identifies the potential risks and remedies, and SKB will develop space plans and additional documentation for the client to consider as a short-term master plan. If mechanical systems are identified as part of the risks, SKB would engage appropriate consulting engineers to develop supporting design such as pressurization or filtration solutions.

SKB has partnered with UL Verification Services (a part of Underwriters Laboratories, the UL labeling company) to provide a comprehensive evaluation and planning service to help companies understand how they can modify and maintain their existing facilities.

 

For more information on this service, please contact Mark Baughman, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP, SKB President, at mbaughman@skbarch.com

LONG TERM

 

There are currently over 1,200 clinical trials underway worldwide, each trying to find effective ways of treating the Covid 19 virus patient, ideally with a drug that is already in use for another disease and does not need to go through extensive animal and human testing and can be used right away. However long it takes, a treatment will likely be found. But the long term impact of the pandemic is impossible to predict. That said, we have some observations that may or may not bear out.

TELEWORK AND VC

Technology companies may have long ago adapted to a mobile work force, but there has always been a section of the white collar workforce that for good reasons or bad were not embracing the idea of remote work. Now that they have, some may have changed their minds having adapted their work habits to the reality created by the quarantine.

On the other hand, some organizations may have found how difficult it can be to manage individuals or teams remotely over an extended period of time. By the same token, many have seen how easy it is to accomplish some things in a video conference and how hard it can be to accomplish other things. 

THE BIG GIG

With a massive white collar workforce forced to work remotely, employers and employees can better understand what exactly they need from on office. Can the marketing team in Company A really collaborate more effectively in a virtual war room than being all together in one place? Can Manager B really keep abreast of his/her staff, sense each individual's mood and provide the right support at the right time, when they are only available remotely on a screen under certain conditions. Does the receptionist really provide any value to the company? 

Some are predicting that work as we know it will turn into a giant "gig economy" with temporary jobs focused around specific projects, and minimal connection between the employee and organization. It is hard to believe that the big meetings, the important collaborations, the turning points of any organization will be better with person to person, face to face interactions. 

Having worked through this pandemic, organizations may be in a much better position to describe what they want and need out of the workplace. And they can better articulate what the important interactions are and how they can best occur. 

SKB recommends that companies organizations start doing 360 degree reviews to assess the changes to the work and the lessons learned through the quarantine. It is possible the organization has a whole new vision of what it wants to be as a workplace, and that vision may spark even more initiatives about its services or products.

SKB can help companies and organizations with these kinds of reviews, which can easily be scaled to the company's goals. SKB can facilitate town halls or other group meetings or develop and analyze staff questionnaires. 

For more information on these services, please contact Mark Baughman, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP, SKB President, at mbaughman@skbarch.com