As we begin to reopen public spaces and return to the office, health and safety is on everyone’s mind. Over the past year, with the help of our vendor partners, we’ve had the opportunity to hear from experts in the field of occupational health and workspace design. They all agree that the new office can’t be business as usual. People’s behaviors will be different, and our physical spaces must change to accommodate that. Making changes that address the health and safety of your employees and guests is the primary objective, but you can also use this opportunity to build a space that people want to be in, one that makes people feel comfortable and even energized. Where do you start? Here are a few options:
While wearing masks can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, they can’t solve the health concerns entirely. Focusing on cleaning indoor air should be a priority. The CDC says that ventilation is a key component of maintaining healthy environments, and is an important COVID-19 prevention strategy. They recommend “using high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to enhance air cleaning wherever possible”, especially in high occupancy areas, like conference and meeting rooms and lobby/entrance areas. If you’re thinking about air filtration, we recommend Fellowes AeraMax air purifiers. AeraMax air purifiers are 99.99% effective against Coronavirus and achieve leading scientists’ recommended goal of four to six air changes per hour.
Investing in air purifiers also has other long-term benefits. They remove bacteria, viruses, dust and allergens, and harsh chemicals and odors from the air in your facilities. Visitors will be more comfortable and employees will use fewer sick days and be more productive.
Showing that you’re taking cleanliness and hygiene seriously is another way to make employees and visitors feel more comfortable about spending time in your facility. In a recent poll, 89% of respondents said that they wanted to see measures such as increased cleaning, more hand sanitizer stations, and hands-free restroom dispensers in public buildings. Adding more hand sanitizer stations and/or updating the dispensers you use in your restrooms to hands-free units is an easy and visible way to show people you’re addressing their concerns.
If you put up safety partitions last year, you probably have something pretty basic, like a piece of clear plastic clamped to a counter or desk. Effective, but not exactly attractive. Now that it seems like partitions could be here to stay, you might want to upgrade to something better. Protective barriers have come a long way from the beginning of the pandemic. You don’t have to settle for boring plastic. Combine frosted glass and washable panels for workspaces that are safe and beautiful. Choose options like partitions with dry erase panels that are professional and functional. Pick reception furniture with high backs and sides offer visitors safe separation from others.
Choosing multipurpose pieces that can be reconfigured will be key to creating safe, usable spaces. Mobile tablet chairs are perfect for safe distancing in conference or meeting rooms, but can be rearranged for use in collaborative or brainstorming sessions. Nesting tables and chairs can be used for training sessions and also as drop-in workstations for employees who only work in the office a few days a week. Highback reception seating can also be used as privacy nooks or for small group meetings.
The spread of germs and viruses will continue to be a concern. That means regular cleaning, especially in high-traffic public areas, is a must. You’ll need to choose materials that stand up to cleaning chemicals, which can be too harsh for standard fabrics. We can help you choose washable vinyls and laminates.
A creative, reimagined space can help people mentally reset, indicating that it’s time for a fresh start. We want to help you design a space that your employees and guests are excited to come back to. If you’re ready to talk more about what your workspace could be, contact your account executive today or fill out our consultation form to tell us more about what you need.