These are unprecedented instances, and lots of firms have needed to adapt rapidly with out having the ability to deliver staff collectively of their residence base. This has meant short-term closures for some and distant work for others. No matter your organization has been doing to get by through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time to begin contemplating a post-pandemic workplace. This doesn’t imply employees might be returning to the workplace after COVID-19 is totally gone — the virus will seemingly proceed to be a priority for fairly a while. However we will nonetheless sit up for a bit extra normalcy in our lives.
So, how will COVID-19 change the office, and the way can we assist staff get again to work on the workplace with out jeopardizing their bodily and psychological well being? We’re going to stroll by way of essential data to assist with this transition, together with what new developments you’ll be able to count on to see, how one can ease the transition on your group and how one can redesign your workplace to be a safer place for workers.
What Will the Workplace Look Like Put up-Pandemic?
In all of the uncertainty, one factor is bound: The post-pandemic workplace will look completely different from the workplace many people left early this spring. Working from residence has its perks and may match effectively for some jobs, however many firms want the workplace to function a middle of operations and facilitate collaboration amongst staff. The workplace additionally gives a spot for shoppers or enterprise companions to attach together with your firm.
For these causes, the workplace will stay — however with some key adjustments. Let’s check out a number of the adjustments that many workplaces will seemingly begin implementing:
1. Extra Distance Between Staff
Since the latest recession, a pattern that has characterised workplace design has been “densification” — packing staff into smaller workplace areas. This protects firms on overhead, which is why it grew to become a preferred pattern. In some circumstances, having staff work nearer collectively could assist foster a tight-knit neighborhood feeling. The issue with this pattern is that it makes it tough or not possible to abide by the Facilities for Illness Management (CDC) pointers of 6-feet social distancing.
As workplaces start to operate once more, we will count on to see the densification pattern reverse so staff are capable of maintain their distance from one another. It will require workstations which can be extra spaced out and reconfigured frequent areas which can be not designed for shut contact amongst staff.
2. Cubicles or Different Dividers
One other pattern that has characterised workplace design in recent times is the open workplace. This format tends to forego cubicles in favor of benching desks and different shared workstations. In some workplaces, staff don’t even have designated workstations. As an alternative, they reserve numerous workstations — a follow often called hoteling. Even in case you have designated workstations on your staff, if these workstations are adjoined and shut collectively, it’s time for a change.
Anticipate to see workplaces putting in plexiglass dividers between workstations and shifting desks so staff are not going through one another or sitting too shut. We additionally anticipate cubicles to return again to workplaces that had beforehand moved away from cubicles. The excellent news for these workplaces is that there are numerous completely different cubicle choices as we speak that weren’t obtainable just a few many years in the past. Immediately, you will discover cubicles which can be engaging, customizable and simple to reconfigure.
three. Testing and Contact Tracing
Some firms will begin taking precautions to make sure none of their staff have COVID-19. As a result of somebody can take a look at constructive for the virus and expertise no signs, it isn’t sufficient to ask employees to remain residence in the event that they really feel sick, although employers will definitely try this. This may occasionally appear to be taking staff’ temperatures on the door utilizing a thermometer or infrared physique temperature scanners, as Goldman Sachs is planning on doing. In some circumstances, it might additionally contain routine testing for the virus.
Workplaces can also leverage contact tracing expertise in order that, if an worker is identified with COVID-19, employers have information of any co-workers that worker got here into contact with. These uncovered staff would then be requested to self-quarantine so the virus doesn’t have the chance to unfold all through the workplace. These measures could really feel like an invasion of privateness to some staff, however others will recognize the additional security measures.
four. Extra Arms-Free Know-how
Workplaces are discovering methods to include extra hands-free expertise to reduce what number of shared surfaces staff have to the touch within the workplace. In recent times, we’ve seen hands-free expertise launched into public restrooms by way of motion-sensor taps, dryers or paper towel dispensers, however now you’ll see extra hands-free expertise pop up in public areas, together with workplace buildings.
Some examples embrace:
Voice-activated controls in elevators
No-touch badge readers
No-touch rubbish cans
In some locations, it’s exhausting to keep away from touching shared surfaces, resembling a keypad on a printer or a keyboard on a shared laptop. You might even see disposable covers applied in these areas to guard folks.
5. Frequent and Thorough Cleansing
There’s little doubt that going ahead, there might be a better emphasis on cleansing than staff have seen earlier than. Even workplaces with janitorial workers who clear the workplace frequently will seemingly discover methods to implement extra frequent or rigorous cleansing procedures. It will contain sanitizing or disinfecting surfaces frequently to kill viruses and different germs.
We could begin to see extra modern cleansing strategies, resembling electrostatic cleansing, which entails spraying a disinfecting mist with positively charged particles onto surfaces or objects. These electrically charged particles assist the spray totally coat surfaces for extra thorough disinfection. We could even see some workplaces use UV mild to disinfect whole rooms.
Tricks to Assist Staff Efficiently Return to the Workplace
After briefly closing or having staff do business from home, returning to the workplace could appear intimidating to administration and staff. Staff have gotten used to new routines and should readjust to coming into the workplace regularly. So long as COVID-19 remains to be a menace, staff could expertise anxiousness as they begin to work in-person once more. Let’s take a look at some suggestions for find out how to assist staff return to work within the workplace in a method that can defend their well being and provides them peace of thoughts.
1. Preserve the Line of Communication Open
One of the essential methods to assist staff again to the workplace and decrease stress is by retaining the strains of communication open. Ship emails or maintain digital conferences forward of your return to share as a lot data as you’ll be able to about what the transition will appear to be. For most individuals, feeling extra knowledgeable will scale back their stage of worry and assist them come again to the post-pandemic office with confidence.
Remember that we’re all studying as we go. This implies you’ll be able to really feel comfy inviting suggestions out of your staff. Ask for his or her perspective on how your organization is dealing with the transition, and ask if there are parts of distant work they wish to maintain going ahead — resembling digital somewhat than in-person conferences. You’ll seemingly get conflicting suggestions from completely different staff, however you might even see a normal consensus that helps you strategize extra successfully. This may also assist your staff really feel heard and revered.
2. Conduct Coaching
Coaching might be vital to assist staff adapt to new insurance policies and keep protected. You need to contemplate conducting coaching nearly so staff can full the coaching from their workstations somewhat than sitting collectively in a convention room. This coaching ought to embrace normal data on find out how to forestall the unfold of germs. You’ll be able to cowl data concerning handwashing, avoiding touching your face and different directions from the CDC to reduce folks’s danger of spreading or contracting the virus.
Your coaching must also cowl adjustments to your work procedures going ahead. Possibly you’re limiting the variety of folks within the break room or requiring staff to clear their desks of any memorabilia for simpler cleansing. No matter your new pointers are for workers, be certain that everyone seems to be conscious of those expectations.
three. Permit Staff to Do What Makes Them Really feel Protected
You need to permit staff to take additional measures that can assist them really feel protected within the post-pandemic office. Employees at jobs that contain a comparatively low publicity danger to COVID-19 should not required to put on private protecting gear (PPE) like masks, however some staff could want to put on a masks or gloves for additional security.
If you happen to’re having conferences within the convention room, some staff could want to affix by telephone or nearly from their workstation. If you can also make lodging that don’t have a detrimental impact on staff’ work efficiency and your organization, you need to strongly contemplate them. Feeling protected psychologically might be simply as essential as bodily security on this scenario, so permit your staff to search out their private consolation stage — particularly early within the transition.
four. Make Cleansing Seen
Cleansing professionals are used to coming into workplaces at night time or on the weekends to allow them to clear whereas the workplace is vacant. For some, this association ought to change so cleansing happens whereas staff are on the workplace. This “seen housekeeping” can reassure staff that they’re working in a clear and protected surroundings.
Seen cleansing reveals your staff how critically your group is taking preventative measures. You could have to avoid wasting cleansing duties, like mopping flooring, for off-hours, however having some cleansing happen throughout working hours is a great transfer.
5. Create New Schedules If Mandatory
In case your workplace just isn’t massive sufficient to house staff out adequately, you could wish to contemplate returning to the workplace after the pandemic with a brand new, short-term schedule. This might appear to be staggering the times or instances staff work so not all of your staff are there directly. On the times staff should not within the workplace, they may do business from home.
You possibly can additionally give staff assigned instances to eat lunch within the break room so you’ll be able to keep away from overcrowding. Staggering work schedules or the usage of sure areas in your workplace can assist you keep social distancing pointers and assist your staff really feel safer.
How one can Redesign Your Workplace for the Put up-Pandemic Office
Let’s discuss virtually about find out how to replace your workplace post-pandemic. Your workplace design itself may have to vary to accommodate your staff’ security and luxury. Listed here are just a few methods you are able to do that:
Put up informational signage: Incorporating signage into your workplace design can assist you remind staff of recent social distancing protocols or different pointers. For instance, an indication within the restroom can remind staff to wash their fingers for 20 seconds. It’s also possible to put up new occupancy limits for convention rooms or break rooms.
Get rid of bottlenecks: If there are areas in your workplace like entrances and exits the place visitors move congestion can happen, you’ll wish to discover methods to keep away from this. A technique you’ll be able to remedy this subject in post-pandemic workplace design is with wider corridors that solely permit one-way foot visitors.
Rethink your format: It’s time to get out your tape measure and see in case your present format permits staff to socially distance whereas working. If not, you’ll wish to transfer desks round and discover a new format that can assist staff really feel safer. This may occasionally additionally imply reconfiguring your convention room to tug chairs farther aside.
Add partitions to workstations: Open workplace designs can nonetheless incorporate obstacles between staff. You’ll be able to set up short-term sneeze guards or discover open idea setups that embrace partitions between staff’ workstations. This can assist forestall the unfold of germs and supply staff with some privateness.
Set up cubicles: One other step you need to contemplate taking is putting in cubicles in your workplace. Ideally, these cubicles ought to be 6 ft by 6 ft or bigger so you’ll be able to abide by social distancing pointers. Sunline cubicles are a superb possibility since they’re customizable and far simpler to place collectively than different cubicles.
Contact Arnold’s Workplace Furnishings for Skilled Workplace Design Providers
Designing your workplace post-pandemic could appear overwhelming as you attempt to navigate the transition. That’s why Arnold’s Workplace Furnishings is right here to assist. We provide design companies so that you take advantage of your house and consider new issues, resembling social distancing. Our design group is accessible 24/7 that will help you get by way of this time efficiently.
We will additionally provide all the brand new workplace furnishings you want, together with Sunline cubicles — probably the most modern, versatile and handy cubicles you’ll discover in the marketplace as we speak. You’ll be able to present staff with privateness and safety whereas sustaining a distinctly fashionable really feel and engaging aesthetic in your workplace. Contact us as we speak to be taught extra about how we can assist you redesign your workplace for a brand new period.