Sooner or later workers will return to the office. CoreNet Global’s own surveys as well as dozens of others all essentially reach a similar conclusion. The office will remain as a place for collaboration and teamwork. But how will it be designed?

In a new article on Metropolis,  Stephen Coulston, principal at Perkins and Will, discusses some of the new features that will enable even a potentially vaccinated work force to get back to work.

“We’re looking at a reality where we can’t have accidental interactions as we wait for the elevator or stand in line at the copy machines. And in reality, some of our best ideas originate when we step away, take a break from our traditional thinking environment, and interact with our peers in a casual setting.

Shared office buildings can promote this type of interaction with simple workplace design choices.

“Instead of placing the stairway between two unrelated businesses in the back of the building, bring it into the center of the building, and make it a real feature where people can actually congregate and gather. Stairs are often viewed as unoccupied spaces, but when you make them occupiable—think of a large stairway landing with a small seating area—it helps shape the notion of building efficiency by transitioning overhead spaces into value-add spaces.”

Coulston also predicts a dramatic uptick in mixed-use buildings as people look for a hybrid of the remote-work benefits they received from COVID-19 telecommuting, paired with the things they loved from pre-COVID-19 workplace design,” according to the article.