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 Challenge Description




JUNE 29, 2020

COVID-19 has posed an immediate threat to our health. At its root, it has also underscored the relationship of the human behavior and planetary health. During this time, the sustainable choices we make are paramount in the prevention of the future pandemics and are central to our design choices.

Many challenges arise as we adapt our existing office environments in response to the pandemic. More spacious circulation routes, desk spacing, and meeting room density guidelineswill help to foster the recommended minimum distance of 6 ft between individuals. We also need our spaces to be created with the following principles in mind: beautiful design, health and safety, sustainability, and wellness-incorporating acoustic elements to minimize noise pollution.

As we consider the design principals of conference rooms, private work zones and kitchen / lunch areas, we realize that these are areas where people informally collaborate, interact, brainstorm, and socialize. They also promote a sense of community that is so crucial to our daily human existence.

Increased physical distancing requirements also highlight our need to establish and maintain foster productive, collaborative, and personal human contact. To make a successful transition into the Next Work Environment, we will have to establish new guidelines which address:

1. the need to contain the spread of germs 

2. the need to adapt existing office spaces to allow for physical distancing while promoting a sense of community

3. the concern for employee’s safety, health and well-being at the workplace 

4. the need for more flexible schedule and options to work remotely 

We will eventually return to the workplace in some way, shape, or form, and the opportunity at hand will be to redefine what our primary work environment looks like. We will need to remain mindful of the choices we make with regard to our environment, or social collaboration norms, and our physical and mental health. 

New WORK COMP 1: Text
New WORK COMP 1: Gallery

COLLABORATIVE AREAS- Conference Room, Kitchen, Private Meeting Area and Lounge - SOLUTION DESCRIPTION


1. With the help of the HIVE app, the organizer of a meeting can reserve any shared resource, such as a Conference Room. Prior to the start of the meeting, the app will send staggered reminders (e.g. 30 seconds between each subsequent reminder) to each attendee to proceed to the check-in point. Employees will check-in at the meeting with the HIVE app on their personal device, or by speaking their name into the meeting room kiosk. Similarly, attendees can check out when the meeting is complete, or the meeting leader can check everyone out at once. The HIVE app will track time spent in the meeting, the number of uses since the last cleaning, and the real-time availability of the conference room. Attendance and usage information will also integrate with other corporate systems through the HIVE API (Application Programming Interface). 

2. The organizer of the meeting will be able to set their room preferences such as lighting, room temperature and glass transparency for a touchless in-room experience. In addition, the app will be able to display the configured document on the projection screen.

3. HVAC in all areas (and inside the Meeting Area BOOTH) will be equipped with high efficiency HEPA filters which will run continuously during the day.

4. Windows will be operable where possible and should be opened for additional ventilation between meetings. 

5. All rooms should have a door for entry and a separate door for exiting, to prevent inadvertent congregation at the doorway. Meeting participants in the second meeting will be able to check on the current room occupancy to help prevent hallway gridlock if meetings run late.


1. Before arriving in the kitchen, each employee will be able to view the current kitchen wait time on their personal device. 

2. Amenities in the kitchen include and open refrigerator, pedal operated or touchless faucet, soap and paper towel dispensers, hand sanitizer as well as coffee and water station.

3. With the help of the HIVE app, employees will be able to place an order for coffee from their personal device. When they reach the coffee station, they will be prompted to place their reusable personal cup under the spout, and can initiate beverage dispensing with the app.

4. All counters and tabletops will be made of anti- microbial synthetic materials.


1. The Private Meeting Area is designed for employees to hold virtual calls and meetings, which can done in a POD or in a BOOTH. BOOTHs will provide complete privacy of conversations.

2. To use the BOOTH or the POD, each employee is required to make reservation on the HIVE app. They will start by picking a date and time, then proceed to browse the available seats, and configure the length of the meeting.

3. Each employee will be asked to use their own laptop in the POD or in the BOOTH and required to clean the desk surface with sanitizing wipes.

4. The space will be equipped with ceiling hung acoustic panels for additional noise absorbency.

New WORK COMP 1: Text

Challenge Description




JUNE 29, 2020

Prior to COVID-19, the Office Lobby was one of the busiest hubs of the workplace. It was the main point of access and egress for all staff members, an area where deliveries were received and where guests arrived before heading into a meeting. It was also the home of the Office Receptionist who directed all above traffic.

As we slowly return to our offices post COVID-19 pandemic, our priorities and concerns have likely changed. New challenges and possibilities will reveal themselves, and a new attitude and adaptability to changed workflow will be necessary. 

The main principles that work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are hand sanitization, contact tracing, physical distance, touchless interactions, and personal protective equipment. As such, the entry point of the office could benefit from touchless technology for all check in and delivery procedures, new decongestion processes and layouts, and contact tracing databases that record all visits to the office by employees and guests alike.

Health Professionals are concerned with:

  • challenges to contain the transmission of the virus as people arrive after their commute

  • preventative and screening measures at the entry point to eliminate potential contamination of the office space

  • keeping the office virus-free 

As we adapt our existing Office Lobby to allow for a more streamlined process at the entry point, many other challenges arise. We will need to create seamless and ubiquitous solutions to office processes such as scheduling or attending meetings, reserving a work seat which is physically distanced, as well as incorporating the new culture of ZOOM calls. 

As we work towards the goal of securing a virus-free office, we should also keep the following principles in mind: beautiful design, acoustic elements that minimize noise pollution and promote wellness, health and safety, and sustainability. 

New WORK COMP 1: Text
New WORK COMP 1: Gallery

Office Building Lobby/ Amenities/ Common Area- SOLUTION DESCRIPTION


1. Prior to arrival at the office, each employee is required to make a reservation on the HIVE app. They will start by picking a date, and their assigned seat, or browsing from a list of available seats based on their identity and user group.

After they arrive, employees will be asked to scan their personal device with the QR code on their mobile app at the touchless Check-In Kiosk. The Kiosk will be equipped with a temperature scanner, which will be automatically activated. Before employees can enter, they will be asked to fill out a short Health Questionnaire on their personal device and to sign a waiver that they are not experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms and that they have not been in contact with anyone who has. Employees will receive a confirmation of their seat reservation and a reminder of other reservations that day. After they submit their replies, a map will indicate the location of their assigned seat, and the door will open automatically. 

2. Guests arriving for an appointment will also be sent a QR code or password a day earlier by one of the employees. Guests will have to follow the same check-in protocol as staff. After submitting their replies, the door will open automatically, and they will be asked to proceed to the Waiting Area.

3. Delivery agents will be asked to scan their personal device with the QR code at the Kiosk. Each delivery company will have an assigned QR code to enter the office, and their arrival and check-in at the door will be logged by the auditing system. Inside the Reception Area, there will be a Delivery Station with lockers. Packages may be dropped off in any available locker. Once the door is closed, the system will generate an individual QR code, which will be sent with a notification of delivery to the recipient, including a photograph of the package, taken with a camera in the locker. This code will be needed to retrieve the package. Once the door is locked, a UV lamp will turn on and disinfect the surface of the package.

4. If an agent needs to speak with a receptionist, they will be able to reach them from their personal device, or by saying “receptionist” at the front door kiosk.

5. The reception area will be equipped with operable windows and the HVAC will have HEPA filters installed for maximum room ventilation.

6. Where possible, there should be a door for entry and a different door for exiting.

New WORK COMP 1: Text

Team Members


Agnieszka Chromicz

Interior Designer and Team Lead- ACA Design Studio

Agnieszka is a founder of the ACA Design Studio. She has been focusing on the office design for the past 4 years, bringing new office solutions to the workplace.


Betse Ungemack

Interior Designer- Jeffrey Hutchison Associates

Betse Ungemack is a Senior Interior Designer working at Jeffrey Hutchison Associates in New York. She specializes in high end retail Interiors.


Maxie Pennington

Interior Designer- Forrec INC.

Maxie Pennington is an Interior Designer working at Forrec Inc in Toronto. She specializes in the entertainment design for theme parks, shopping malls, and various attractions.

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Jacob Tseng

Director- Jonah Group

A Software Solution Architect who is passionate to make software solutions to solve real world problems.

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Nazanin Meshkat

Emergency Physician - University Health Network

Associate Professor, University of Toronto
Program Director, Royal College Emergency Medicine Program


Jeremy Chan

Co-founder- Jonah Group

As a long-time software developer and technology enthusiast with a broad range of education and experience in both Biology and Computer Science, Jeremy became an accidental entrepreneur after the dot-com boom / bust cycle of the late nineties, joining with two colleagues to start the software services firm Jonah Group in May of 2001.

New WORK COMP 1: Team Members
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