How Office Layout Might Look Post-Shelter-in-Place and What it Means for Your Team

How to plan for your company's return to the office

Socially Distant Office - Truss

At this point, it’s clear that the post-shelter-in-place office will look and feel different than before. What that means for your office varies depending on your specific space, your business needs, budget, your building and your lease. Here’s what experts recommend to boost employee safety and our tips on how to implement these changes.

Building Safety Measures and What You Can Expect

Buildings should emphasize sanitation and minimize contact in high-traffic and communal areas. This could include efforts such as increased deep cleaning, improved air filtration systems, touchless doors, elevators and faucets, unlocked internal staircases and no-touch hand-sanitizer dispensers in high-touch areas. At a minimum, your building’s consistency and depth of cleaning should increase.

As of right now, buildings are not obligated to provide any of these services, so you’ll want to check with building management and your coworking provider, if applicable, to see what efforts they’re putting into place. Keep in mind that building management and ownership is also adjusting to this situation and that they may be still figuring out their implementation plan. Your local Truss broker can help you prepare for the conversation.

In-Office Safety Measures and How to Make Them Work for Your Team

 An ideal post-shelter-in-place office layout could include more space per employee, smaller private offices, the use of plexiglass, hand sanitizer stations, and more defined wayfinding throughout your space. The reality of this new layout is that it’s not right, for every company – there is no ‘one-size-fits-all' approach to an office layout. If you’re in a traditional office and want to build private offices, you’ll have to talk to your landlord about an office renovation/alteration. You will either pay for it yourself or renegotiate and extend your lease in order to obtain dollars from your landlord for the construction. If you’re in an office in a coworking space, you can talk to the coworking provider about leasing smaller offices for your team in lieu of your larger office. If you have a desk in the communal area of coworking and can afford it, you can talk to your coworking provider about updating to a private, one-person office.

If none of these options are feasible for your company, there are other ways to increase employee health and safety.  Consider rotating who comes into the office by mixed teams to increase square footage per person. You may want to implement signage that demonstrates what six feet looks like to encourage social distancing between employees or which direction to walk in for clockwise movement. If your building is not providing hand sanitizer, you’ll want to ensure that you have hand sanitizer available for your team. Some businesses are also providing disposable mats for employees when using desks. If you’re having an all-hands meeting, consider continuing to do so virtually.

Need Help Planning for the Return to the Office?

If you’re looking for new office space or planning how to return to your current office, we can help. Our local Truss brokers are here to help you assess your office needs and make the right choices for your team.

What Other Office-Leasing Related Questions Do You Want Us to Address?

What other questions do you have about office leasing? Send them our way ( and we’ll do our best to get information out there.