Organisations are wanting to bring their teams back to the office because they know it’s the best place for people to come together, create solutions and execute on activities. Effective design complements a safe and engaging return to office.
Below are seven key considerations that you can implement immediately.
Promote safe distancing
Create minimum 1.5m distancing between people in open workspaces, meeting rooms and pods, breakout areas and lounge spaces. Reduce floorspace congestion by removing excess desks, tables and seating, or use alternate desks.
Avoid desk sharing
Reduce/eliminate shared desking and shift to more owned individual spaces. If different staff are using the same desks on alternate days, ensure an adequate cleaning program is in place and consider the use of individual desk mats.
Meet in the open
Use open spaces for meetings where possible, leveraging flexible furniture with movable whiteboards and screens to create boundaries. By doing this, more people can meet together without the spacing limitations of a fixed meeting room.
Add space buffers
Increase barriers between existing workspaces, paths of traffic and communal areas by adding screening, storage units, plants or partitions.
Adapt furniture configuration
If possible with your workstation system, a simple but effective distancing measure is to reconfigure desking to reduce face-to- face orientation. Turn workstations to 90-degee angles to prevent workers from working directly across or behind one another.
Use moveable screens
Throughout the workspace, consider increased user-movable screening to reduce exposure. Moveable Perspex screens provide an ideal yet simple barrier to maintaining distancing in high traffic areas such as lobbies, breakout spaces and lounges.
Avoid high-contact surfaces
Fix open internal doorways within the office where possible to reduce contact with door handles and door panels. Consider motion-sensor or foot-pedal operated rubbish bin lids. Handle hooks or clips are also a simple but effective means of avoiding hand contact with door and cupboard handles.
Recent workplace surveys have indicated that around 70% of employees are looking to continue working from home to some extent in a future beyond COVID-19.