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Article: Perkins and Will

Physical Distancing Brings Us 6 Feet Together

April 28, 2020

Industry news curated by Pivot's team. Article published on PerkinsWill.com.

Perkins and Will have been leaders in the discussion around the implications of the COVID pandemic for workplace design. In this latest article in their COVID Insights series, the discussion turns to the potential psychological implications of a return to the workplace, and considerations companies will need to take to ensure equitable treatment of all employees as we plan to return to the physical office. Will we phase the re-entry? Which teams will return first? How many will even want to return? Will employees feel stigmatized for not returning? Will they feel slighted if they’re not in the first group permitted to return?

"There is no magic solution to balancing the simultaneous unease and eagerness to return to the office environment with the pressing need to reinvigorate the economy. Developing a caring, equitable, and well communicated process for phasing employees back into the office will be complicated but vital to maintaining the heart and soul of any organization: its people."

Workplaces are meant to bring people together to connect, collaborate and create; not to keep people six feet apart. Through the transition phase, companies should not lose sight of the purpose for the office environment—but must also take the necessary steps to maintain the recommended physical distance and other precautions to help reduce the spread of disease and keep the health of their people a top priority.

As companies plan transitions back to the workplace, it is essential to remember the why in which we want to return. The workplace fulfills an important part of the human need to interact with one another.

"In spite of the need to wear masks, wait for an empty elevator, wipe down our desks, or wave at our coworker from 6 feet away, we are social creatures. Ultimately, culture will win as we find new, safe ways to foster the community we need."

Read the full article here: PerkinsWill.com.

Written by: Michelle Osburn, Workplace Practice Leader, Associate Principal