The last few months have been uncertain at best. Almost overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic converted a majority workforce with remote work capabilities into an almost entirely remote work model. In preparation for a staged re-entry from makeshift home offices to our formal work environments, we must rethink the office landscape, how we collaborate, and even how we conduct the most mundane daily interactions.

The office vocabulary with which we have become familiar is changing by the minute, and the “new normal” is rapidly morphing into the “next normal.” What will the rules of engagement be now? What is in and what is out? Or more to the point, what is safe and what isn’t anymore? Are open offices and benching out? Or are they still in, but with modifications?

In the time of COVID-19, until a vaccine is widely available, collaboration has boundaries, the large town hall is a series of rooms within rooms, the focus on materials is cleanability, personalization is about decluttering, and wayfinding is not so much about navigating but rather maintaining distance and respect for personal space.

Although there are generic solutions, recommendations, and guidelines available, each company has needs specific to its unique function, operations, culture, and location. “One size fits all” does not apply, and as we attempt to envision what the next normal will look like, we recognize that psychological comfort is as important as physical comfort. On both a team and personal basis, we are now charged with identifying what it will take to empower the employees who define our businesses and embody our brands, while keeping them safe and healthy.

At Gola Corporate Real Estate, we are used to dealing with challenging situations every day and poised to meet the challenge of providing real estate and project support necessary for companies to instill confidence in their employees as they re-engage in the workplace. Specifically, we can be an ally in conversations with landlords about their action plan for common spaces; analyze space requirements that may have shifted during this economic recession; strategize a staff re-entry plan; and provide project management services in support of current and future facility operations.

We all want to get back to work in a way that will safeguard our health and promote our financial well-being. Gola is helping companies do both.