These sealed work pods with air purifiers show what returning to the office could look like
- White collar employees around the world suddenly began working remotely en masse as the coronavirus pandemic closed offices.
- While some workers are back in offices, other companies are working on potential solutions for offices that make social distancing difficult.
- Designer Mohamed Radwan's prototype adds hexagonal pods and air purifiers to offices.
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Offices are probably going to look very different as workers return after working remotely during the coronavirus. Open floor plans, shared snacks, and even places for napping or hanging out were once markers of trendy places to work, but now safety is a concern as well.
Egyptian architect and designer Mohamed Radwan created a system of office pod for the post-Covid-19 workplace, for a project called "Q.workntine." The design was recognised with an award in the Responsible Design category at the DNA Paris Design Awards.
Spurred by the coronavirus, advanced in remote working technology might make offices less important, and some experts predict that they might only be used for especially collaborative work. Google and Uber are among tech companies that have already extended work from home through the summer of 2021.
Some companies, of course, may want to preserve a workplace culture. Several Bay Area design firms described their plans to Business Insider, including extra separation between workstations, one-way hallways, and handwashing stations.
Radwan's design uses some similar ideas, creating individual pods for workers.
Here's how it works.
Radwan says that the pod system can maintain the same number of employees
Each pod is like a cubicle in a pre-Covid-19 office, but sealed off from other employees.
Inside, the workspace looks like any typical cubicle.
Pods each have automatic doors that operate with facial recognition, so there's no need to touch and contaminate them.
Ventilation fans with built-in air purifiers prevent the virus spreading among coworkers.
The door is acrylic, with an airtight seal.
Hexagonal pods are arranged in a hive shape that can accommodate different office layouts.
Compared to a regular office layout, they take up about the same amount of space.
The pods can also be made larger to fit different office needs, like for executives.
The pods will be made of a non-porous material for easy disinfection.
The pods could be a relatively safe solution for workers whose jobs are difficult or impossible to do at home.
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