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Temperature checks, staggered lunch times, and spaced-out seating charts: Photos from around the world show what offices in the US could look like after lockdowns lift

south korea offices reopening
  • As countries reopen slowly, employers grapple with the question of how to go back to the workplace safely.
  • Office buildings in Hong Kong have started checking employees' temperatures in the lobby, while office buildings in Singapore are now limiting the number of people that can take a single elevator.
  • In South Korea, open office floor plans are still in use, but with more space between each worker. Communal areas, like cafeterias, are also in use but have new protective screens set up at dining tables.
  • These pictures show what going back to an office could look like in the US, from longer waits in the elevator bank to more personal space in typically densely packed offices.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
SEE ALSO: A third of the global population is on coronavirus lockdown — here's our constantly updated list of countries locking down and opening up

Many American offices have pivoted from structured cubicles to open floor plans over the past few years. A layout, which, for better or worse, often has employees sitting in close proximity to each other.



Source: Business Insider



The coronavirus pandemic stands to change many details of ordinary life for people around the world — including what the workplace looks like.



While major US cities remain under lockdown, offices elsewhere have started to open back up, and they offer valuable insight into what life might soon look like in American offices, too.



Temperature checks: In Hong Kong, temperature checks have been widespread since January. Here, government workers get their temperatures checked by security in the office building's lobby before heading up to their workspaces.



Source: NPR



The standardization of masks: While Hong Kong never underwent a strict lockdown, it did limit public gatherings, encouraged social distancing, and adjusted immigration policies. As it gradually reopens further, most people wear masks.



Source: Financial Times, US News



Social distancing in elevator banks: Singapore will remain on lockdown until June 1, but high-rise office buildings there are prepared for social distancing, with yellow tape marking where employees should stand in elevator banks.



Source: Business Insider



Designated spots in elevators: To avoid overcrowding, there is also yellow tape on the floor inside the elevators denoting where employees should stand on the way up to their office space.



Reimagined floor plans: Open office floor plans in Seoul, South Korea previously highlighted how easy it is for the coronavirus to spread in certain workspaces. One densely-packed call center had an outbreak that affected 44% of the floor in March.



Source: Business Insider



Reduced and restructured working hours: Hyundai Card, a credit card company based in Seoul, has an open office layout. It is now shifting employees' working hours so the workplace is never at capacity.



Empty seats between employees: Employees at Hyundai Card practice physical distancing by leaving an empty desk in between each occupied workspace.



Protective screens between employees: In the office's cafeteria, diners sit behind protective screens while they eat.



Schedule changes: The company implemented staggered lunch breaks to have fewer people in the cafeteria at once. South Korea relaxed lockdown restrictions on May 6.



Source: Gizmodo, Telegraph





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