Although strict social distancing regulations are temporary, it is reasonable to consider how concerns about future pandemics will change how we design and utilize buildings in the future. It’s not a surprise that unprecedented times trigger new innovative solutions to improve our current and future facilities. The reality is COVID-19 will have an effect on what buildings look like in the future – so here’s what we think might change.
- Flexible Hospital Spaces: Our current situation has prompted healthcare institutions to rethink their space constraints and ability to quickly react to societal needs. From modular medical gas and emergency power connections to developing systems around converting large, open spaces into temporary care facilities – our healthcare system and the way we design hospitals will
- Touchless Technology: While touchless technology systems have been around for a while, COVID-19 has increased the value and implementation of these systems, especially when it comes to public facilities. A few likely systems we’ll start seeing in our common life are automatic doors, voice-activated elevators, motion detected light switches, hands free crosswalks, touchless pay systems, and cell-phone activated hotel entry to name a few.
- Focus on Information Technology Abilities: With remote work and virtual meetings on the rise, IT connections are more important than ever. Ensuring a solid, secure connection to the cloud, remote work stations, and hoteling stations with cameras will all become business essentials.
- Space Utilization: Space utilization refers to how a space is used and how often it is used. So, how do shared workspaces fit in with the rise of virtual workspaces? After COVID-19, we’ll likely see decentralized workspaces, an increase of work-from-home policies, and the re-utilization of conference spaces. The quantity and size of conference rooms might be reduced as organizations see the value and efficiency of virtual over traditional meetings.
- A Shift in Materials: As we build with our current situation in mind, we’ll likely see owner-preferred materials emerge. From antibacterial fabrics and finishes, viral-resistant copper surfaces, and self-sanitizing door handles, we’ll see new products integrated into our facilities.
- Cloud Manufacturing: We’re currently experiencing automotive manufacturers heroically converting their existing lines for medical equipment. In the future, we’ll see a focus on cloud manufacturing. Cloud Manufacturing allows manufacturers the flexibility needed to produce parts on demand in varying quantities on existing lines.
So, what do we do as our customer’s needs and demands change? We lean in. Desperate times prompt us to create innovative solutions to rethink what we’ve always done. Take this uncertain time as a chance to add value and offer new solutions to your customers. And as always, keep learning.