COVID-19 is rapidly changing office culture and design, and it will have long-term impacts on the future of workspaces. Employee safety and wellness should be top of mind when adjusting your workspace to meet COVID-19 regulations.
The goal of your office should be to have a safe, healthy, happy and productive workspace. By being well prepared and making the necessary adjustments now, you’ll be ready for whatever the future brings.
Depending on your physical office location, COVID-19 regulations may differ. Every company worldwide adapting to the “new normal.” With changing regulations changing, it is important to ensure your space is set up for safety.
There are 3 main pillars to consider when creating a safe workspace.
- Office Design: The physical layout of your office should be updated to meet COVID-19 guidelines.
- Your People: Your employees, clients, and guests should be well-equipped to handle COVID-19 in the workspace.
- Productivity: Help your employees succeed by adjusting what productivity looks like in 2020.
Coworking and collaborative spaces have been gaining steady popularity. It’s likely that your current office design no longer meets workplace 2020 regulations. Office spaces today can still foster creativity and collaboration. It just might take some outside the box thinking.
It’s time to get creative. Examine your current workspace, determine your office density and then identify areas you can retrofit.
In conference and meeting rooms, flexible and movable furniture is a perfect solution. These pieces can transform a room into a safe space, no matter the context. Also, look at purchasing extra storage for PPE and cleaning supplies.
For individual workstations, begin by adjusting the layout. Each station should have at least six feet of distance between workstations. If necessary, Install higher walls or glass partitions between stations. This will allow for a comfortable working station. Like coworking or conference spaces, ensure there is enough storage for extra cleaning supplies.
Haworth’s adaptable furniture allows you to easily adjust and reconfigure workstations quickly and cost-effectively. Download Haworth’s white paper on returning to work and updating your company’s floorplate.
When purchasing furniture, consider buying products with high-quality and easy to clean surfaces. Look for smooth surfaces that can endure lots of cleaning or fabrics that can be washed multiple times.
Think about the flow of the office. Encourage your team to host stand-up meetings and have beautiful open places to host these in. Use signage and stickers to let people know how to move through these spaces. Make common spaces easy to navigate.
Have clear signage that informs guests about the practices for visitors. The Government of Canada has a great resource centre you can use for Covid-19 collateral.
The safety and wellness of your people is the most important thing. Encourage your employees and guests to follow all COVID-19 protocols.
Office Interiors is based in Atlantic Canada, which encourages the use of non-medical masks in public spaces. While your office may be a private space, it’s still important to encourage employees to wear masks when social distancing is not possible.
If you are open to the public, outline what you can do when you welcome guests. Use a visitor log to track guests. Take their names, numbers, go over your guidelines, and ask about their travel and contacts. Here is a log from the Saskatchewan government that can be used to track visitors.
Sanitation should be a large part of your new routine. This includes both personal and space sanitation. Clean all high-touch areas of the office many times a day. Clean door handles and devices like printers or fridges. Wipe down desks and computers daily and encourage employees to keep their stations clean. Make cleaning supplies easily accessible for both employees and guests. Leave some buffer room between meetings in coworking spaces to allow for proper sanitation.
Empower your employees to focus on their health and wellness. Encourage employees to stay home if they aren’t feeling well. If exposure or symptoms do occur, educate your employees on how to contact local health authorities.
Virtual meetings are a great way to keep connected to a large team without physically being in the office. While this concept isn’t new, implementing virtual meetings can be challenging at first. There are many video conferencing solutions available for all price ranges and company sizes.
If we haven’t said it enough, being prepared is essential for success. Working from home is becoming more popular and setting up a home office can be tricky.
If team members want to be prepped to work from home, help equip them. Consider all the technology they would need to make this transition smooth. They could use new at-home printers, collaborative cloud software or a task chair for their home office.
Ready to learn more about how you can create a safe and productive workspace?
We have a great team here at Office Interiors to help update your space to be COVID-19 compliant. Book a free consultation with one of our experts today!
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