Creating a working environment safe from coronavirus

As office design has changed over the decades it has usually been towards bringing teams together, from rows of desks to open plan offices to informal breakout areas. But now we need to keep people apart.

It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure staff are safe, and this starts with encouraging social distancing. Employees should stay 2m apart wherever possible, and no hugs, kisses or handshakes.

Use signs to mark standing spots for lifts, circles around workstations, and lanes or one-way routes in corridors.

The average size of the office desk has shrunk as businesses try to make the most of floor space, so the best way to keep people apart may now be rotating schedules.

Areas will need to be cleaned thoroughly, and you can reduce this burden with paper placemats which an employee can remove and throw out once they have finished working at a particular desk. Hand sanitizer stations should be strategically placed around the workplace.

There is new evidence emerging that Covid-19 is an airborne disease, meaning open windows or air purification systems will be required.

It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure staff are safe

Some workplaces have begun retrofitting or rebuilding their spaces, including wider doors and more partitions. The same technology that automatically opens front doors is being adopted throughout buildings.

There are even contactless ways to call lifts, order coffee and track an individual’s movement to ensure they’re keeping the appropriate distance apart.

As workforces begin to return, there’s a lot for employers to consider and a heavy responsibility on their shoulders. You can talk to us, office interiors veterans of more than 65 years, for ideas on how to keep your team healthy and safe.

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