As trusted providers of interior wood doors for design projects across the country, we are watching how the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts will affect the commercial construction industry. It’s no secret that the outlook for the 2020 non-residential construction market is bleak. April 2020 saw non-residential construction starts down more than 30 percent year-over-year and down 22 percent from their five year April average. Here, we share some thoughts on the future of office design, including the role of office door performance in constructing spaces clients want.
Commercial Construction Predictions
A recent article in Architect Magazine stated bluntly, “companies are questioning their traditional investment in expensive real estate.” While some worry that commercial office construction is a thing of the past, the article goes on to predict, “we will eventually return to a collective workplace, but one that has changed beyond what we could have previously imagined.”
A tighter market means more competition to deliver the best designs, particularly for office space, where demands are changing fast. Success means understanding client needs from layout to doors and windows and more.
Assessing Changing Office Design Demands
While many offices adapted to a work-from-home model, the trend is toward returning to the office, whether on a staggered schedule or with precautions in place. Many still put stock in the benefits of in-person interaction. Therefore, companies who choose to keep employees working on-site in an office will face greater demands from employees and, in turn, real estate companies will face greater demands from office tenants.
Doors Contribute to Calming Office Spaces
Workers returning to the office want stress-reducing experiences. Office designs may emphasize connection to natural elements, such as wood, and calming colors. Interior wood doors available in a wide range of stains and colors can contribute to such an environment. STC-rated doors can reduce sound transfer, creating quieter work spaces, which also help to reduce stress.
Daylighting in Offices
Design changes influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic in many cases will eliminate open, team-work style spaces, and allow for more isolation and privacy. However, putting up walls means the need for glass partitions and lites in order to allow in natural light. Glass is becoming a sought-after building material for contemporary office design. It provides a great intermediary to counter the adverse effects of light deprivation or isolation. Daylighting has long been shown to enhance worker productivity and well being. The strategic use of glass lites in commercial doors, or as sidelites and transoms create naturally-lit, comfortable spaces.
Less Crowded Spaces
For a long time, the trend was toward creating more density in office buildings. Now, in the interest of social distancing, workers will be arranged with more personal space. Workstations will likely be further apart and partitions will divide up spaces. It’s likely that a particular space will need more office doors than it would have previously.
Explore Office Doors Now for 2020 and Beyond
Now, as always, interior office doors can influence a healthy and productive workforce by providing secure, attractive work spaces to keep work projects moving forward. As trends change, even in a challenging market, Masonite Architectural can provide a wide range of interior door styles and performance functions to meet every need. Request samples today or explore your options with our Door Selector.