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Meeting Notes

June 2, 2020

Sorry guys, I couldn't help it, all these new rules make me feel like we will be addressing each soon other thru behind glass walls. The above image is from The Wire (awesome show).

We met with Jacob and Maxie today and brainstormed some ideas and projects already under way:

1. Jacob is already working on an app for the Jonah Group , which will let people book in advance an assigned seat in the office. Same app has more capabilities which can be programmed into it. 

2. The app is in the rough "sketch" stage, but we will be able to have a sneak peek this week.

3. Maxie pointed out that people in specialty fields (animators or graphic designers) require specific equipment (and setup), which is not portable.

4. We discussed going into the office or working at the office in shifts or on alternate days, which could be more disruptive to the creative process.

5. We discussed working from home and its advantages of being able to concentrate and going to the office for collaborative days.

6. Flexibility of being able to choose seems to the best way forward.

7. Discussed allowing people with medical needs, with kids (who are not in daycare or school) or who are sensitive to the possible exposure to work from home vs. people who are eager to go back to the office. 

8. Discussed the need for check in procedure: would it be too tedious to ask every day for biometrics and your exposure outside of work. 

9. Should there be procedures in place for: checking in (with your key fob), attending to personal hygiene, storing bags in a locker.

10. Touchless sensors for lights, HVAC controls and opening garbage cans.

11. Room capacity sensors for the office, bathroom, kitchen, which will tell you when you can use the particular room. Maxie suggested using a schedule for when you can use the kitchen. How would that work for the bathroom?

12. Touchless sensors for tap/ soap/ paper towel dispenser/ hot and cold water dispensers are already widely used, how long would it be before we can have touches microwave doors? 

13. Coffee machine- could we have an app on phone to order coffee, which would then be queued with other coffee orders. When your coffee is ready to pour, you would get a notice to go to kitchen and put your cup under the spout.

14. New idea based on "quiet train cars", could we divide office into zones based on density of occupancy or other groups.

15.  Touchless cleaning of the office- could spaces which are used for gatherings be later disinfected using UV light (or other method)? 

16. Would the model of alternating working days for parents be corresponding with the alternating days at day care/ school.

17. Bringing lunch to the office vs. food delivery. BYOL may be tough since each person would have to touch refrigerator door/ microwave (assuming soap/ water/ paper are touchless). Cooking in the kitchen may be off limits. Alternate options- bring lunch which can be eaten cold or order in?

18. The receptionist - deliveries can be dropped off some distance away. She would have control of the employees coming in without reservations, be reachable from the lobby for deliveries and have controls for the office lights, HVAC and room capacities. 


competition guidelines

This competition is meant to be a short but focused design charrette and collaborative problem-solving exercise for individuals and small teams based on the following assumptions:

  • We will go back to work in our workplaces

  • Office buildings will be our primary work environment

  • The Coronavirus will remain a short-term lethal threat

  • We need to socialize in order to remain human and exchange ideas.

  • The wellness and safety of people is a priority

  • Current rules and practices for distancing should be respected

  • Good design contributes real value and builds our culture

  • We need solutions that can be incorporated quickly

  • Sustainability is still a necessary consideration

  • The work environment should inspire and rejuvenate people

We are asked to select (1) from the following (7) categories:

1. Workspace- assuming 3,000 SF

2. Office Building Lobby/ Amenities/Common Area

3. Coworking Space

4. Workstation

5. Collaborative spaces: Kitchen/ Cage/ meeting areas

6. Work From Home Space

7. New Change Management Process

Ready to submit? Window for submissions: June 8 – 30, 2020

To enter, prepare and submit:

  • Your contact information including name(s), address, phone number, and email, organization (for sponsored teams only)

  • Selected theme

  • A name for your solution and short paragraph project description

  • A description of the work environment and challenges (300-words max )

  • A description of specific solutions to project challenges (400-words max)

  • Bullet list of any additional features

  • Descriptive images (up to 10 images max). You have complete discretion on the number, format and choice of visuals submitted. Sketches, plans, axonometric or perspective renderings, photographs, images of 3D models, etc. may be used to convey the specifics of your design. All images must be submitted in Adobe PDF format.

  • Optional video or animation (1 max through link submission, limited to 1 minute)

  • Submissions for the New Change Management Process may include text, charts, diagrams, sketches, etc necessary to convey the process, provided they conform the limitations outlined above.

Here is the link to the New Work Design Competition website:



Tips and Trends



Shares how architects and designers are rethinking the workspace for the age of coronavirus.

1. New surfaces- unfinished wood, soft stone, stainless steel are all grounds for germs and bacteria.

2. New Materials should be anti-microbial synthetic materials, metals which are most resistant to germs such as copper and brass.

3. Office controls, such as light and HVAC can be controlled with personal devices.

4. Some desks can be converted into open or "green" spaces.

5. Offices with outdoor areas will be more attractive to employees.

6. The purpose of the office will be more than just a workplace, it will become a place of community, culture and learning.  

7. Dedicated workstations with a clean desk policy and a storage cubby for personal belongings which should be taken home at the end of each day. More separations between workstations will give people more privacy to work and allow for less distractions (we hope).


Survey says

Global Work from Home Experience Survey- short summary

44% of survey participants were Generation X and 31% were Millennials

69% of participants were from Americas and 17% from Europe, ME and Africa

88% were regularly working from home during pandemic

31% were working from home on a regular basis BEFORE pandemic

Remote Work Success Factors

68% of employees are successful working from home:

72% have access to everything they need in order to be successful working from home

61% of employee's are satisfied with remote work success factors

81% of employees are satisfied with technology suitability, and readiness on average

Self Discipline is %50 more important to your success of WFH than high quality collaboration, well being, having dual screens and an ergonomic chair.

Managers Perspective

70% of managers agree that WFH is the same or better for their teams work performance 

Most people agreed:

76% of participants would like to WFH 1 day a week

23% of participants would like to WFH 2 days a week

17% of participants would like to WFH 3 days a week

77% of participants said they are fully productive WFH

On average people are interrupted for 78 minutes at the office and 43 minutes at home.


Ideas worth considering:

As I read thru all the materials, in addition to some new ideas I had, the following ideas emerged to be a common concerns across all disciplines:

1. Commute to work (do we have any control over our safety). What are the modes of transportation, who do we come in contact with, can we trace it back? 

While "commute" is not part of the competition, it may have to be taken into consideration. 

2. Making desk reservation: on the day prior to visiting the office: making seat reservations, sitting at the same desk vs. different desk every time (pros-cons), requirement to keep desk surface clean, bag storage, taking personal belongings home daily.

2. Work arrival and check in: what is the check in protocol, is there a protocol for washing hands or other form of sanitation for clothing, bags, as well as collecting biometrics upon arriving to the office. 

4. Design and capacity of the occupant areas (open office, conference room, kitchen, lounge areas). In general the trend seems to be for the staggering occupancy around the office or staggering furniture. 

Other suggestions, which are low- tech immediate solutions, are the use of outdoor spaces and creating "open" spaces between seats and more green areas inside and outside. Other suggestions is to adapt biophilic principals (Biophilic design is an approach to architecture that seeks to connect building occupants more closely to nature)

The Frame article points out that better quality of outdoor air, would be a good way to introduce fresh air in office (and using the operable windows).

Other collaborative areas: how are we going to address the simple and mundane issues like using the coffee machine or reheating your lunch. 

5. Circulation around the office: what is the preferred method for circulation around the office?

6. Cleanliness of the office- as mentioned in one of the publications putting up higher plastic walls will lead to more surfaces we need to clean and using the existing or additional fabric panels, will be the breeding ground for more germs. Some of the proposed solutions out there is to have a "Sanitation" team on standby and clean desks regularly during the day or at the end of the day. 

7. Air filters: Frame Magazine reports: "The World Economic Forum indicates that ‘China’s mass adoption of this technology is thought to have assisted its office workers to return to their desks more quickly".

8. Front desk (receptionist aka the office version of the "Frontline worker"). How are we going to deal with the deliveries, visitors (if any) and potential candidates coming for an interview (if at all).

If you made it this far, THANK YOU FOR READING!!!




306 Sackville Street
Toronto, M5A 3G2

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