Over the last seven months, the COVID-19 pandemic has re-shaped our daily life worldwide. Our workspaces have not been spared either; the pandemic has transformed our office practices to adapt to the new normal. The way we access our offices, how we use it, and how we leave it at the end of the day have all shifted to safety first. The health of all those accessing the office has to be safeguarded through sanitization and social distancing, curbing the virus’s spread.
The pandemic is testing our workplaces’ flexibility to accommodate the new normal. We have been forced to rethink our office layouts and re-organize office furniture to facilitate a healthy working environment. The pandemic has affected our offices in terms of creativity, collaboration, and office relationships.
Humans are social beings, and when it comes to working, they need interaction to improve their social skills and intelligence. We need to think about the future of workspaces beyond zoom meetings or webinars; with that in mind, planning for the future is crucial. I have compiled several post-COVID-19 office trends to provide guidance and help you redesign your workspace to keep your employees safe from pathogens.
New designs prioritizing physical distance
The government continues to mandate for about 6 feet social distance between employees in a work station. Facilitating social distances will make your employees feel safer and motivated to work hard. Most offices have been using short desks catering for two or more people, but now with the normal offices will have to invest in traditional long tables that create a safe distance between employees. Organizations may also add transparent partitions between employees using plastic or glass screens to allow employees to interact positively.
To protect employees from contracting the virus through contact with pieces of equipment, you should invest in personal laptops, tablets, or telephones that each employee will be responsible for by ensuring they are clean. The post-COVID-19 future will incorporate modern office furniture that allows quick space reconfiguration and can easily be sanitized. Check out modern North Miami Office Furniture.
Employee lounges. These lounges are subdivided into smaller hubs for rest, rejuvenation, and relaxation, with social distance still being a priority. What is essential is to design your office in a way that feels conducive to socialize safely.
Open plan design is still prevailing
Despite the many critics of this open office plan, this design still prevails. It is not going anywhere anytime soon. The open office plan is always easier to clean because employees have minimal surface contact. Scientists have advised proper ventilation is key in curbing the spread of COVID-19. Having an open office design facilitates the quick opening of windows and installing an office air control system. Although this plan is not perfect, it stills encourages collaboration and transparency in a safe way.
Constant education of people accessing the office
We have become used to road signs and markings till we have forgotten how vital they are in maintaining order. Posters, stickers, and decals are great tools in sensitizing people about COVID-19. The best way to ensure employees adhere to COVID-19 guidelines while interacting is to put down stickers to signal where a person should stand. Also, clients need to be shown where to stand as they wait for services. Sanitization equipment’ should be well marked, and the procedure to use outlined on a sticker.
Office kitchens have undergone a transformation
Often the office kitchen was used as a place where people could gather and enjoy communal refreshments. However, in post-COVID-19, this practice will no longer be accepted to curb the spread of illnesses through shared items. No shared cups and plates; each employee should have their personal effects. Now visits to the kitchen are timed, and employees are arranged in shifts for their safety.
Addition of green environment and Airflow systems
Having clean air in the office is key to preventing viruses and bacteria droplets. Offices need to update their air and ventilation systems before employees return to work. Improving air circulation will in the long-term assist in curbing challenges such as flu and colds. Adding some office plants will come in handy to purify the air inside the office. Consult interior designers to advise in creating an enabling environment in your office.
These trends show where companies are shifting to meet the COVID-19 guidelines; this is the time to think outside the box. Interview employees and gather input on how you can improve office space so everyone can feel safe.