Businesses developing re-opening plans following COVID-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have many dimensions of employee health to consider, but creating safer offices that reduce the risks of viral spread must be a top priority. Social distancing and increased hand hygiene have been proven to tamp down transmission of the virus, and office layouts can help or hinder these two efforts. Here are some of the changes companies may consider to make their office more conducive to controlling coronavirus outbreaks:
1. Visible Social Distancing Reminders
One simple method of encouraging social distancing is to use visual cues. Targets or circles that are 12 feet in diameter may be placed under desks to remind employees to stay back, and stop signs or markers on flooring can encourage people to stay back from shared office essentials like the copy machine while waiting in line.
2. Less Open Office Space
For companies that are able to remodel their existing offices or relocate to new offices, there is sure to be a shift away from once-popular open floor plans, as enclosed private offices provide the best conditions for preventing COVID-19 spread.
3. Soft Architecture Work Stations
Companies that must continue to occupy offices with open floor plans are likely to install soft architectural barriers like dividers or Plexiglass sneeze guards around workstations.
4. One-Way Traffic Flow Patterns
Simply rearranging office furnishings in a way that encourages employees to walk around the office in a clockwise or counter-clockwise pattern only can enhance social distancing efforts. When the shape of an office prohibits this type of movement, companies will need to analyze traffic patterns and determine how they can be modified to reduce employee contact.
5. Wider Hallways and Doorways
Wider hallways and doorways that allow people to pass each other at a greater distance are sure to be on the top of many companies' post-coronavirus remodeling wish lists.
6. Removal of Reception Desks
In the wake of coronavirus outbreaks, it is less important that employees are greeted by a friendly receptionist sitting at an open desk. You can expect many companies to revamp these areas into wellness check stations where employees' temperatures will be taken. PPE may take place in these areas. Some companies may even wish to set up hand-washing stations for employees to use as soon as they enter the office.
7. Conference Room Redesigns
COVID-19 raises serious concerns about employees jamming in around large conference room tables. Some companies may reduce the number of chairs in these spaces to allow for social distancing. Others may remove the tables altogether and set chairs spaced out against the walls with lap desks for note-taking.
8. Team Bubble Mentality
Employees that have to interact with one another frequently to complete daily tasks may be arranged into work bubbles. If team members are tested regularly for coronavirus, the members of these bubbles may not need to social distance from one another, provided they are isolated from the rest of the office.
9. Quick Hand Hygiene Stations
To encourage good hand hygiene, employers may set up hand sanitizer stations throughout the office, especially in communal areas like next to shared printers or outside of lunch rooms.
Reach out to us to see how we can help you find the best office space to fit your needs during these times!
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