The post-COVID office may be forever changed, as companies rush to incorporate social distancing into their workspaces. Remote working also means our relationship with our desks has become more tenuous. Designers are coming up with novel ideas to meet the needs of this changing world, designing portable toolboxes, germ-free pods and modular barriers that can adapt existing spaces while shaping the way we will work in the future.
Clikclax social distancing kit
Australian designer Zahava Elenburg designed Clikclax to help coworking spaces and open offices adapt to social distancing rules. It comes as a kit of parts that slot together to create individual desk barriers and storage space. Elenburg had 1960s Playplax construction kits in mind when designing it, which explains the interlocking pieces as well as the bright colours.
Gustav office toolbox
With hotdesking, shared spaces and remote working on the rise, many of us are no longer tied to one spot. This portable ‘office toolbox’ hopes to streamline things, allowing workers to unpack their stuff and start working. As well as space to neatly stash belongings, Gustav unfolds into a laptop stand that helps support correct posture.
Qworkntine airtight pod
For a more drastic solution to social distancing, Mohamed Radwan has designed an airtight office pod that can be installed in place of traditional desks. The Qworkntine concept is made from easy-to-clean materials and has built-in air purifiers. Handle-less doors and facial recognition entry also lower the likelihood of spreading germs. As well as a small version for single workers, the concept includes bigger pods for meetings.
Muji Petite Renovation
Some companies are advising employees they’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future. If your home office is lacking, you can now revamp the space using Muji’s furniture subscription service – which is currently being rolled out in Japan. A flat monthly fee will let you kit out your home workspace with help from the company’s interior design service – who are on hand to advise on making a comfortable office environment in a small room. Two solutions are available, a partitioned micro-office and a wall-mounted set-up.
Focus office divider
This roll-up office divider creates privacy in open-plan spaces while shielding workers from the spread of germs. Created by Note Design Studio, the floor partition comes in full-length and tabletop versions, both of which are lightweight and can be folded up and carried. There are several office-friendly muted colours on offer, as well as brighter pink and orange shades.
Office furniture experts Vitra unveiled its Dancing Walls system by Studio Hūrleman, a few years back, but the mobile partitioning system has new relevance in the post-pandemic workspace. The wheel-mounted dividers act as acoustic sound-barriers, storage and display surfaces. Vitra has been working on a series of white papers exploring the future of the workspace in reaction to COVID-19. One of the ideas discussed is the end of open-plan office layouts in favour of subdivided micro-communities. Read more on that in our feature, What will the post-pandemic workplace look like for creatives?