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Staggered Start Time And Touchless Elevators Could Be The Future For Large Office Buildings

Alesandra Tejeda
As many Wisconsinites continue to work from home, the future of office buildings could be very different from how we left them.

As many Wisconsinites continue to work from home, the future of office buildings could be very different from how we left them.

Like many of you, the Lake Effect team has been working from home the past few months. And while we sit at our kitchen tables, couches or closets, our office building is relatively dormant, leaving our cubicles and offices empty. While the transition has been difficult for some employees, some people and companies hope to make working from home a permanent solution.

>>Latest WUWM & NPR Coronavirus Coverage

So, what would that mean for the many office buildings we have here in the Milwaukee area?

Tom Daykin, a reporter who covers commercial real estate for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, says the biggest trend from the past few years in the Milwaukee area is companies moving their offices from the suburbs to downtown. What were they looking for? Spaces that are less focused on cubicles and private offices and more focused on collaboration. 

"How do you continue those things and still maintain the social distancing and the things we need to do to fight the spread of the coronavirus? That’s what becomes the challenge," says Daykin. 

Developers are now brainstorming ways that building design could reduce the spread of diseases. Daykin says some ideas that developers in Milwaukee are considering include enhancing ventilation systems, touchless elevators, and motion-activated bathroom doors.

He also says that once tenants begin returning to buildings, they may be asked to take measures to reduce traffic in office buildings. One suggestion may be staggering start times so elevators aren't crammed.

When you go back to your office building, expect measures like taped off areas marking 6 feet and increased access to hand sanitizer. 

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Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as producer for Lake Effect. Most recently, she was a director and producer for The Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm, Chicago Public Radio.
Tom Daykin has been covering commercial development at the Journal Sentinel since 1995.
Jack Hurbanis started as the WUWM Digital Intern in January 2020, transitioning to Assistant Digital Producer in July.