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4 ways offices will have to change when they reopen to avoid contagion and a second round of lockdowns

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  • Americans don't think their jobs will return to normal after the pandemic. 
  • A study from the business advisory firm, Brunswick found that 47% of employees believe their workplace will not return to normal operations. 
  • Employees can expect to see fewer colleagues in-office and changes to the physical workplace. For example, some companies plan to ditch the reception desk for mudrooms, a space for hanging up your coat, washing your hands, and changing your shoes.
  • Here are four ways the office could change once you return to work. 
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Employees believe the coronavirus pandemic will change their work-life forever.
A recent study of more than 1,000 US workers from the business advisory firm Brunswick found at least 47% of remote workers believe their workplaces will not operate the same way in a post-pandemic world. The report shows that 87% of those not going into work are concerned about another wave of office closures in the future.
The coronavirus has fundamentally changed how Americans work and experts are now reimagining workplaces with a host of new safety measures.
For example, before a vaccine for coronavirus is available, it's likely that employees will see fewer workers in the office, which will help prevent the spread of the virus. Employees can also expect changes to the office floor plan. This includes the addition of an "officle," a door-less space that's a mix between an office and a cubicle, Business Insider previously reported.
With some states in the US already reopening and others scheduled to ease restrictions on stay-at-home orders in the coming weeks, it's important to prepare yourself for how the workplace will change.
Here are four ways you will see the office change once you return to work, based on advice from CEOs and architects.

There will be fewer people in the office

It's likely that most employers won't have everyone return to the office at once. A dense space or large social gatherings can increase the transmission of the disease among coworkers.
Because of this, it's likely that there will be few employees working in the office. Some employees may work from home indefinitely. Managers may also consider staggering work schedules throughout the day, or even alternating days or weeks in the office.
Without a vaccine, you can expect a gradual reentry to the workplace. For example, over the next 12-18 months, there may be a cycle of lockdown and relaxation, with periods of 100% remote work, Business Insider previously reported.

You will have to wear a mask at work

Most states are ordering people to wear a mask in public. It's likely that these measures will include the workplace as well. Some workplaces will use one-way hallways to prevent close contact. Landlords or companies may also screen for fevers and other symptoms at the entrance to an office.
While undergoing these changes, Primo Orpilla, a cofounder and principal of Studio O+A, said workplaces must also prioritize making people feel comfortable.
"How do we tell our people that we're making them safe," Orpilla told Business Insider. "But not make it feel like you're going through immigration at San Francisco International Airport?"

No more checking in at the reception desk 

Instead of using a receptionist desk for checking in, it's likely that employees will use a mudroom, or more of a home foyer where you take off your coat and wash your hands.
Also, some companies may forgo self-serving coffee machines, according to the architecture solutions firm Gensler. If the budget allows for this, you may see baristas serving up your favorite coffees in house, according to a sample floor plan from Gensler. Hiring a barista can potentially limit the spread of germs among colleagues, Business Insider reported.

You might be quizzed on new office protocols 

When employees go back to work, you will also likely see an increase in communication from managers about the changes coming to a post-pandemic workplace. With these changes on the horizon, you will want to stay in the loop.
For example, the CEO of financial services company Discover, Roger Hochschild, has been sending employees daily emails to update them on the changes the company is making.
When it comes to following social distancing protocols, HR may quiz you on how well you can adhere to the rules. Some companies are even creating courses on new protocols, which employees will need to pass before operations resume.
SEE ALSO: What to expect when you're back in the office: 7 real-estate experts break down what the transition will look like, and why the workplace may never be the same
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* This article was originally published here

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