A credibly COVID-safe office seen also to boost smarter workplace wealth creation will get a lot of attention

You don’t need us to tell you that as office rents continue to fall in Australia’s major east coast markets, every commercial workplace property owner is now, rightfully, just as fearful as they were one year ago that the coronavirus and its effects will cost them business, probably over the long term.

Yet, the reputational, publicity and commercial rewards for those able to fight back by driving meaningful change that addresses this challenge convincingly will be substantial.

Thus, I want to illustrate in what follows how, if you own, invest in or run such a property, we can work with you to create and meet the demand for superior facilities that are designed to be as plausibly COVID-safe as they can at present be in the minds of those who will use them.

The primary purpose of the program we propose is to help employers encourage their workers to spend more productive, collaborative time in their office workplaces.

Brief “beyond the building” to understand what those within it need to feel protected

In this, we believe our methodology for briefing “beyond the building” – by engaging the connected intellect in those facilities’ configuration and design – to be the most appropriate way of identifying, understanding and meeting demand in the application of any space which must satisfy identifiable, fine-grained user needs.

Because it demands paying great attention to the experience of users as employees (EX) and to that of tenant decision makers as customers (CX), we believe providing COVID-safer environments falls squarely into this category. And, importantly, this new need has not yet been effectively countered by any better proposal we’ve seen.

The primary purpose of the program we propose is to help employers encourage their workers to spend more productive, collaborative time in their office workplaces.

To us, in the workplace, creating the perception of COVID-safety is closely bound up with meeting users’ daily expectations that they will be protected as best they can be by the companies they work for.

As such, above all, the question all workplace providers must seek to answer is, what do such spaces look like if they are to be considered safe in the minds of those who work in them?

How those working in them feel about the spaces they occupy, and being given evidence that it has been designed thoughtfully and purposefully with their protection in mind, is, we believe, vitally important.

Likewise, the design of those common, shared access spaces whose use no one can avoid – such as lobbies, entrances, corridors, lifts and escalators – must also meet this same expectation.


Apply science to show your workers and users they have been heard and valued

This requirement means science must be applied, and this begins with demonstrating to those who will use that workplace that their fears and abilities to contribute to their mitigation have been listened to, and heard.

All employers stand to win if they can offer this reassurance and minimise the virus’s impact by attracting and being able to bring to the office and to get the best use from the minds of their most attractive employees.

And, because it is inherently in the healthy self-interest of all concerned, individual offices will do this most convincingly – vaccination aside – by engaging the collective, connected intelligence of those occupying them as a defence to make their occupants both practically and psychologically better protected when working in them against the ravages of the current, persistent pandemic.

A positive side effect, as we’ve documented here, in our piece on the office of the connected intellect, is that at a time when each is suffering from the loss of productivity of its people working from home, those businesses concerned will each in turn also learn how to configure its own workspace more productively around the intelligence it already contains, and that which it must attract, retain and nurture.

When they can design their future connected intellect around it, this makes it only a matter of time before someone sets a new standard for the ways in which they learn to organise more effectively their workplace as an active ingredient that grows the intelligence, creativity and productivity of the knowledge currently most often hidden within their business.


The opportunity is to create workplace property that is among the smartest in the world

Through this and the learning it will bring to its team, our workplace partner will learn to create properties that, counterintuitively, amid a pandemic and against rising opponents, are among the smartest in the world.

In a deliberate and bottom-up process, it will encourage those working within each participating office to devise individualised organisational strategies for its own self-protection.

And, in learning from the best of them, designing from that inner collective intelligence outwards, it will begin to design aggregated workplace facilities that are, in turn, as mutually protective and productive as they can be for all who will work in their individual units.

This opportunity is enormous, and someone will move on it, so let us work together to help employers encourage their workers to spend more productive, collaborative time in their more creative, connected office workplaces.

Contact Graham Lauren for more: 0416 171724, graham@shiroarchitects.com, #connectedintellect