…the Uber pulled up to the building and let Antonia out while her husband stayed aboard to complete his ride to his workplace.
As Antonia approached the building, the door opened automatically and she flashed her security card and walked into a newly fitted lobby. Hand sanitizing stations were located in key positions, the security guards were behind plexiglass screens, signs directed those who had health clearances to one line with markings on the floor if a line occurred for every 6’/2m, while another line was provided for screening (temperature checks).
As she and three other people got into the elevator, each taking a corner, she thought of the consultant from Deloitte who had helped her create the short term plan for this ‘Recovery Phase’ which they called a bridge between Response and ThrivePhases. The consultant designed a Recovery Journey Map for her and the team which included the following ‘thought stations’ for the journey:
Reflect – they needed to think about what they learned in Phase 1 and how those findings could affect this Phase.
Rethink – they needed to review the short term plan and redesign any elements which have changed in the current environment. There would definitely be a mind shift from Respond to Recovery that everyone had to acknowledge and think differently than ever before.
Recommit – the team members had to recommit to the goals of the physical workplace during this pandemic which were to provide the safest, healthiest and most productive environment for all stakeholders which included employees, visitors, the adjacent community and the planet.
Re-engage – the returning employees had to know through targeted communication and change management practices that their re-engagement with the physical workplace would be very different from pre-CV-19.
Reboot – the team all had their roles to play in rebooting the return to the office. The maintenance staff reviewed all the latest documentation on new cleaning and disinfection protocols and scheduling procedures to reboot their operations.
Review – the existing Digital Workspace with the IT team for productive remote work.
Redesign – the conference rooms from the typical tables and chair environments to experiential, activated places of discovery and creativity.
As Antonia stepped off the elevator, she followed the new directional signage which was designed for each floor to ensure one way passage through the circulation routes.
She viewed the 10 workstations with new plexiglass screens, all located 6-10’/2-3m distances between each other, then stopped to take a call from security in the lobby which was about one employee who was scheduled to come in on this first shift, but did not pass screening. She was asked to step into a small enclosed room behind the security desk to have a conversation with a doctor’s assistant from the local CV-19 Testing Center about her symptoms via a telemedicine application virtually. The result was she was advised to go immediately to the testing location, as her symptoms seemed like she needed to be in quarantine and would not be returning to work immediately.
After the call, she followed the signage to check out the redesigned conference rooms called Col-LABS or collaborative laboratories for single or small group work or play sessions. After seeing the extraordinary performance of the televised production of Hamilton, the inspiring play that bedazzled Broadway, it was the amazing depictions of the inter-relationships of history and personal relationships in a revolutionary environment depicted through music, dance and brilliant performances that captured whatever audiences who saw it, and made Antonia think that there had to be other ways of presenting a story than PowerPoint. Obviously not in such a full production like that play, but perhaps in simpler more creative ways. A thought occurred to her of a quote from a book by her favorite contemporary architect, Clive Wilkinson,
“For many large, innovative organizations today, the workplace has become a kind of theater. The action of work becomes a play…where human activity is freed from excessive management and control, work can become serious play and the associated activity become a state of flow…Indeed, this state of consciousness called flow is an optimum, desirable condition to be strived for in creative communities. Flow works like the movement of water, inspiring and connecting people and processes in an efficiency of movement and productivity.”
Antonia also thought of a quote from ‘Hamilton’ when they sang about “the room where it happens” and realized that this was the idea behind turning the conference rooms on one floor to “rooms for innovation to happen” which she thought about when reading a report on new metrics from JLL recently. It mentioned 3 CRE metrics out of 10 new ones which may be adopted in the next 3 years, which measured utilization of innovation places, portion of the portfolio dedicated to innovation places, and ROI of CRE innovation. The ART team and staff redesigned new places for innovation including:
The Building Digital Workspace Command Center – For the main utilization of the CRE, FM and ART team members for real time monitoring of the interior and exterior environments. Current work that is going on includes a 3D model of the floors of the building the company occupies, floor plans for each floor, and GIS maps for all locations with current CV-19 data; all IWMS data can be accessed, as well as metrics and analytics. A large computer screen takes up one wall and acts as an electronic whiteboard for both physical and virtual sessions. A screen outside in the open space displays the dashboards for all occupants to see how their building is performing at any time.
Makers Place – A tinkering environment for use by employees and the community to enhance creativity and provide a stress release for the emotional health of employees in a different type of environment. Tools can be donated by various vendors (3D printers, laser cutters, soldering irons, sewing machines, etc.). If successful, a similar space will be built out on the ground floor for use by the neighboring community in their next location. Workbenches are set up with 6’/2m intervals for sitting with plastic separations. A glass case in the lobby is for exhibiting finished work from this lab for inspiration for other workers. The robotic dog’s home is in there. That was acquired by Antonia to measure all the as-built floor spaces and is a good lure for employees to at least check this place out.
The Healthy Building Lab – An experimental lab for WELL standards. Antonia’s staff are working with Professor Allen’s team from Harvard and Delos (company behind WELL). Students from NYU and Columbia are using this lab periodically to do experiments on building science, business science and health science and share the results with the staff. This data will eventually be entered into the IWMS and will be displayed in the digital twin of the building in the next phase of the new workplace.
Locations in the Corporation Place – This is a GIS learning lab for visualization of location information; data is fed by the IWMS, The John Hopkins CV-19 Resource Center provides real-time updates, and HR includes employee home location data (HR). ESRI has partnered with Antonia’s company to provide virtual learning videos on how to use their GIS tools, including their story maps application. This is a new form of the visualization components for the command center to be available to all departments, as the other Col-LABS.
Sounds Place – A sound-proof room was created to enable employees to bring musical instruments into the room which was large enough for social distancing if more than one musician came to jam. A small baby grand was in the room. In addition, the walls can open up for performances out to the rearranged open area, for small gatherings to arrange seats 6’/2m apart.
New Thinking and Working Place – This is a room with different comfortable chairs placed 6’/2m apart under a ceiling painted like a cloud filled sky and in one area, a comfortable raised arena-like platform is situated for listening, or any type of collaborative gathering respectful of social distancing. There are videos provided on how applying a combination of design and system thinking can be beneficial to problem solving, as well as a bookcase with some of the most recent books on new thinking, healthy buildings and other new publications on the built environment and the “new normal”.
Antonia finishes her inspection and stays in the new thinking room for her meeting with the ART Team. She puts her ‘designer’ mask on for protection and picks an Eames chair which is perfect for stretching her legs out. She needs to divorce her thoughts from today and have a clear mind as the topic of the discussion is beginning the preliminary plan for Phase 3 of the Agile Workplace which will be partnerships with a developer and an architect to remodel an existing building. It’s at this point she remembers the phrase…
“the most sustainable building is the one that isn’t built.”
Did you miss part 1? Click here to read about the start of Antonia’s day back in the office.
Stay tuned to read the results of the ‘thrive’ phase in the next article of this series.
If you have an immediate need to address the unique workplace planning and management challenges COVID-19 has created, please contact the Trimble ManhattanONE team at email@example.com for a demo or more information.
Nancy Sanquist, Resident Writer
Nancy Sanquist is an IFMA Fellow, an AIA Associate, and is currently Chair of the IFMA Foundation Board of Trustees. Nancy has been in the real estate and facility management technology business for three decades; she has spoken at industry conferences all over the world. She is a well-known author and editor, including two IFMA Foundation books, Work on the Move (2014) and Work on the Move (2) (2016). Nancy formerly worked as an academic professor in art and architecture (UCLA; Lafayette and Muhlenberg Colleges), as a historic preservation urban planner (Easton, Pennsylvania), and as an urban revitalization consultant (Hollywood Revitalization, Los Angeles).
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