Jason Kulpa Comments on Small Businesses Changing to Private Office Spaces Post-COVID-19

While the global coronavirus pandemic has caused financial turmoil and unrest for many business owners, it has also brought a much-needed shift to reevaluating the workplace around the world. As many companies have struggled over the years trying to identify new ways to work, the pandemic has expedited that process and has resulted in businesses defining new methods of running their operations.

As shutdown restrictions slowly begin to ease, owners of small businesses have been searching for smaller, private workspaces. Jason Kulpa, a serial entrepreneur, discusses what the new normal of office spaces may look like as the world begins to adapt to a post-pandemic way of life.

Looking back on pre-pandemic work environments, many offices were situated in large cities and promoted large campuses for employees with an open office layout. Employees would come to work and find ample space with shared desks, communal coffee stations, and many conference rooms. However, given the nature of the coronavirus pandemic, offices may never resemble what they once did.

Smaller Footprint

Many businesses, especially small businesses, are identifying ways to reduce their office footprint. Rather than one large campus, companies are looking to smaller offices in the suburbs closer to their employees’ homes. Instead of paying enormous sums of money for retail space, businesses may lease much smaller spaces on shorter terms to adapt to the changing environment. Rather than encouraging all employees to commute to the office every day, smaller offices may only encourage in-person work a few days a week. They might also offer a rotating work remote schedule or reduce office staff to those whose work cannot efficiently be completed remotely. As an alternative to hosting large conferences or meeting in event spaces, many businesses may downsize to smaller conference rooms and teleconference for large events whenever possible.

Privacy

Open layout designs with dozens of employees just a few feet away from their co-workers may become a thing of the past. Instead, businesses are opting to return to private office space where more employees have their own personal office. If it isn’t feasible to provide personal office space for all, then many businesses are redefining the space needed between employees and how to create physical barriers for safety. Cubicles may face away from each other or will be further spread apart, to reduce the density of individuals in the workplace.

Reduction in Shared Areas

Shared amenities that were once significant factors of attraction for talent may no longer be “work perks”. Features like cafeterias, coffee bars, and game consoles are shared areas that can transmit contagion quickly. While smaller office spaces may still have a break room or conference room for meetings, most of these spaces will have less seating than before and will be designed to promote safe social distancing. Lunchrooms may no longer be a place to gather, share food, and gossip. The future of shared spaces may include coffee bars, ice machines, or water fountains with remote applications to reduce the physical touching of equipment by employees.

About Jason Kulpa

Jason Kulpa is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of UE.co, San Diego’s Fastest Growing Business multi-year award winner, and a Certified Great Place to Work multi-year winner. Mr. Kulpa is a San Diego’s two-time winner of the Most Admired CEO Award of the San Diego Business Journal and also a semi-finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur award. Under Mr. Kulpa’s leadership, in 2018, his teams volunteered at over 24 events and worked side-by-side to improve the San Diego community. They hosted a gala dinner benefiting individuals with autism, cheered on Special Olympic athletes as they broke their records on the track, and brought school supplies and cold-weather gear to students impacted by homelessness. Jason’s mission is to bring awareness, support, and inclusion for special needs causes.

Alex Hamilton