Coronavirus: Workplaces review office design with view to return

Speculation about virus’s ability to spread through air-conditioning systems

Implementing the rules could require employers to review how many people they can have in the office at a time. Photograph: iStock

Implementing the rules could require employers to review how many people they can have in the office at a time. Photograph: iStock

 

Coronavirus has sparked landlords and tenants to review office design, according to a report published on Tuesday by real-estate agents Savills.

Those returning to work in the aftermath of the pandemic will have to maintain safe distances from each other, along with other precautions.

Office owners and tenants are looking carefully at how to manage sanitation, lift space, social distancing and air conditioning, the report shows.

Andrew Cunningham, director of offices at Savills Ireland acknowledged that Covid-19’s long-term impact remained to be seen, while medical treatment could ease current senstivities.

“For now landlords and tenants will be researching the long-term implications, while also focusing on a number of short-term factors around the design and management of their buildings,” he said.

Before the pandemic, the average Dublin office worker had 10.3sq m of space, but social distancing could require this to be increased.

Implementing the rules could require employers to review how many people they can have in the office at a time, the report indicates.

While there is speculation about the virus’s ability to spread through air-conditioning systems, Savills says a delay in development of vaccines could demand that offices increase filtration and other safeguards in such systems.