How the Pandemic Is Changing Commercial Spaces, and What It Means for Your Contracting Business

Back in the spring, lots of people thought that COVID-19 was going to have short-term effects on the world, and then everyone would move on. As it turns out, systemic changes in business practices will continue into the new year and beyond. Companies are thinking about how to use commercial spaces when they don’t necessarily want people to come in. With this information, you’ll have a sense of what’s coming, and how your contracting business can get involved.

Separate Workspaces
For the last 10-15 years, office spaces have emphasized an open floorplan as much as possible. Even the idea of the cubicle, with the half walls that are easy to adjust, feels like a relic of the previous century. The pandemic has changed the way people think about working in a crowded office space with only a couple of feet between themselves and their coworkers. This is creating a rise in demand for separate workspaces, places where people can be productive outside of the home without putting themselves at additional risk for the spread of airborne diseases.

Efficient Building Spaces
Since people are predictably wary of gathering together, businesses that are likely to occupy commercial spaces are looking for high levels of efficiency in the use of buildings. There might be a new trend bringing everyone back together in five or 10 years, but right now, people prefer to be apart. For office spaces, this means keeping individual offices but allowing multiple people to use them in tandem. Such a design makes it easier to maintain office space for a workforce that is mostly remote. In the retail and service industries, you may notice much less indoor space for congregating. That leaves more room for outdoor interactions and parking.

Outdoor Meeting Areas
Parts of the country with mild winters have long relied on open outdoor spaces to minimize the need for structures. After all, if you live in a part of California that isn’t buried in snow four months of the year, you might easily be able to meet outside. The difference is that the rest of the country is catching up, and they are less worried about avoiding inclement weather. You’ll see an increased emphasis on large, outdoor spaces with seating that is spread out instead of crowded together. This allows people to get together, collaborate or simply enjoy each other‘s company, without the same risk they would face if they were meeting inside. The landscaping industry is likely to see a jump in demand as a result.

Drive-Thru Service
One benefit of the pandemic has been a re-conceiving of the idea of quick service. Businesses now understand that getting people the things they need as quickly and efficiently as possible, with as little contact as possible, is the safest method for everyone. Drive-thru service is becoming an increasingly popular type of building design, and it’s not just for fast food anymore. Industries that already relied on a drive-thru are expanding those systems, with multiple lanes in exchange for the large parking lots they used to keep for indoor, seated customers. Industries that never relied on drive-thru service or now re-examining their options to see how they can make it work.

New Concepts in Hospitality
Although the hospitality industry has been hit hardest by the pandemic, it will bounce back. People will eventually want to take vacations again, and business trips will once again become common. This is relevant because the hospitality industry is an important part of new construction starts and renovations. After all, if no one wants to build a new hotel, they won’t be hiring anyone to build it. New concepts in hospitality rely on some of the same themes in other commercial spaces, including fewer indoor meeting areas, opportunities to minimize contact from the point of entering the building to entering a hotel room, and greater visibility for sanitation tasks.

Starting a career in construction is easier when you can tell how the pandemic is likely to change the industry. To get started, contact CSLS today!

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