Let’s face it – every organization is facing the challenges of an extensive period of employees working from home. Most companies are trying to figure out some way to get at least partial shifts back to the office regularly. The question is – how? How can we be COVID safe in the modern office design while still allowing for the irreplaceable communication and team building benefits that come with a team office environment?
Pre-COVID modern office design prioritized flexibility of space and created open environments for employee collaboration. Companies that recently did an office renovation can’t afford major structural changes in their workplace. Never fear – There are small changes to an office space that can make it feasible for some (or all) of your employees to be able to return.
Some things haven’t changed about office interiors. The ideal office design is clean, inviting, incorporates natural light, and leverages technology to further promote connectivity and productivity. People still need to be able to collaborate and connect. Office teams need formal and informal spaces that safely allow small groups to meet and feel comfortable.
Some easy and inexpensive changes like the following can be made:
- HVAC filters that kill bacteria circulating through the office,
- Desk Screening (possibly transparent) between desks and open benching areas,
- Staggered employee home/in-office schedules,
- Frequent hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the office,
- Touchless bathroom fixtures,
- Touchless faucets and soap dispensers in the office kitchen,
- Social distancing compliant traffic flows
- Antimicrobial painted walls,
- Worksurface replacement at high use areas such as reception desk with anti-microbial surfaces such as copper
- Furniture fabric replacement in lounge/conference and other public areas with premium vinyl. This allows for easier cleaning between occupants.
Consider what changes can made to make the most of your square footage. You don’t have to start throwing up new walls and private offices. All the ways above are ways to keep the transparency that comes with almost all the benefits of open plan workspaces.
Other considerations for new trends in workplaces are several conference rooms varying in sizes. See our article on conference rooms Post-COVID. Make sure your whole office has the best technology and internet access. This encourages employees to come to work and ensures their productivity. Another consideration is using glass if physical walls are still needed to allow for distancing of employees.
If your lease is coming up soon, re-evaluate how you use your space now and where your facility is located. There is a slow movement currently (as of August 3, 2020 – disclaimer because things change every day!) for offices to move from the city areas and into the suburban areas. Some have drastically reduced their in-office workforce and need smaller space, while others haven’t changed their numbers but need more square footage to allow for social distancing.
Employees, clients, and vendors may be anxious but eager to return to the office. Give them a fresh, welcoming, and well-designed interior to that centers first around safety – then communication, collaboration, and productivity.
In a nutshell, some of the main reasons to invest in a modern office design are:
- Ensured employee health and safety
- Improve and equalize usage of your square footage
- Upgrade your office’s interior furnishings
- Create new spaces and an environment that supports employee communication and productivity
Let us help. Key Interiors is a full service commercial interior renovation and design, build, project management team. We work with clients to create modern, COIVD safe office designs. Contact us today to discuss your project.