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A curated digest of timely, must-read articles about how workplace design and safety are changing.

Wall Street Journal
Key to preventing Covid-19 indoors: ventilation

Health scientists and mechanical engineers have started issuing recommendations to schools and businesses that wish to reopen.

New York Times
Return to big offices? Why bank branches may get a new lease of life

The COVID-19 pandemic has given some suburban bank branches an unexpected new purpose – as alternative office spaces for staff reluctant to commute to big HQs in city centres.

Chicago Tribune
Meet the secret weapon for fighting the pandemic: Interior architects

Landlords are under intense pressure to retrofit, redesign and re-imagine their office properties.

Fortune
The post-COVID office will be very different

Has the pandemic killed the office? No, say Diane Hoskins and Andy Cohen, co-CEOs of Gensler, the world’s largest architecture firm.

Wall Street Journal
Ford rethinks the office, betting that work will be partly remote longer-term

The No. 2 U.S. auto maker asks 30,000 employees to clear out their desks to make way for workplace revamp.

Financial Times
Why workers in some countries are more comfortable about returning to the office

The pandemic brought a huge shift to remote working and attitudes are diverging about what happens next.

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CNN
Scared of going back to the office? Companies hope these apps will help

The technology could quickly become mainstream as employers grapple with how to encourage often wary staff to return safely to their offices.

Wall Street Journal
Amazon bets on office-based work with expansion in major cities

The e-commerce giant is adding 3,500 employees in six major cities, including 2,000 jobs in New York.

MassLive
Work during COVID: What a return to the office looks like for many

Workers are returning to spaced-apart desks, daily questions about their health, closed break rooms and sanitizer everywhere.

BBC
Do office reopenings mean a return to the 'old normal'?

Readers share their views on the tricky question of returning to the office, with many calling for a flexible new future.

Harvard Business Review
Reimagining the urban office

People will still need places where they can come together, connect, build relationships, and develop their careers.

Fortune
The hidden—but very real—cost of working from home

Employers who have a choice should keep in mind that the costs of WFH are high and may not be obvious.

Fortune
A blueprint for redesigning the office in the pandemic era

The days of crowded collaboration spaces are long gone. What else is changing? Here’s a preview.

Washington Post
Why Londoners are refusing to return to the office

Britons are lagging Europe in the march back to the office, but the U.K.’s status as the standard-bearer for WFH could be hard to sustain.

New York Times
How to prepare for your return to the office

Nervous about the possibility of going back to the workplace? Here’s what to take into consideration.

The Guardian
Covid will force us to reimagine the office. Let's get it right

Spatial design has consequences: who we bump into and how easy it is to strike up a conversation.

CNBC
The gadgets and software that could help us return to the office

As employers figure out how best to return workers to the office, tech companies are hoping that gadgets and software could help the process.

Reuters
Bosses lure bankers back where they can see them

Banks are installing disinfectant UV lighting, upgraded air filtering systems, thermal scanners.

Wall Street Journal
The office redesign has only just begun

Experts from architecture and real-estate share what offices will look like in the future.

The Verge
Google will keep employees working remotely until July 2021

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai emailed employees Monday to announce the plan

Wall Street Journal
Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All

Projects take longer. Collaboration is harder. And training new workers is a struggle. ‘This is not going to be sustainable.’

Harvard Business Review
Microsoft analyzed data on its newly remote workforce

Teams that don’t communicate. Market disruption. Unidentified logjams. Employee burnout. Lost efficiency

Axios
Tech hits the brakes on office reopenings

Many companies are realizing that their reopening plans from as recently as a few weeks ago are now too optimistic.

Harvard Business Review
The implications of working without an office

What impact is working from home having on productivity and creativity?

Forbes
Why The Office Is Being Thrown Out The Window

The movement for flexible work just kicked into overdrive, as almost every company just tried working from home in some capacity at the same time.

Commercial Observer
The Office is Dead. … Long Live the Office

What will the workplace – and the market for office real estate – look like in the years ahead?

Reuters
Will office buildings ever be the same? Empire State offers clues

A week into New York’s second phase of post-lockdown re-opening, dozens of the companies with office space in one of the world’s most famous buildings are trying to figure out when, how - even whether - to come back.

New York Times
Are Companies More Productive in a Pandemic?

Many claim their employees are hyper efficient while working from home. But there are social and emotional costs to ambition in isolation.

New York Times
How Architecture Could Help Us Adapt to the Pandemic

The virus isn’t simply a health crisis; it is also a design problem.

Inside Hook
What Will Your Office Look Like After Coronavirus?

Amid COVID-19, many companies are rethinking what their offices will look like upon reopening — if, in fact, they do.

New York Times
C.D.C. Recommends Sweeping Changes to American Offices

Temperature checks, desk shields and no public transit: The guidelines would remake office life. Some may decide it’s easier to keep employees at home.

Vox
Office work will never be the same

The pandemic brought us more meetings, longer hours, and remote everything.

Wall Street Journal
It’s OK to Miss the Office During the Coronavirus Lockdown

Coronavirus has shattered any separation between job and home that workers were clinging to—for many, an essential part of life is now missing

Wall Street Journal
Reopening the Coronavirus-Era Office: One-Person Elevators, No Cafeterias

Companies, in adapting the workplace for Covid-19, are reversing a push to cram workers into tighter spaces

New York Times
White-Collar Companies Race to Be Last to Return to the Office

Google, Facebook, Amazon, Capital One and others are extending work-from-home policies to September and sometimes far beyond.

Wall Street Journal
Welcome Back to the Office. Your Every Move Will Be Watched.

Employers plan new tools to measure office interactions and track workers’ health

Protocol
Next up for pandemic tech: A corporate back-to-work app

As the COVID-19 crisis drags on, Appian is the latest to roll out a product that aims to help companies cope.

Vice
You’re Not Going Back to Normal Office Life for a Long, Long Time

Many experts want the WFH workforce to stay put until a vaccine is approved. If you do head back, expect indoor masks, staggered schedules, small meetings, and the death of open-office plans.