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breakroom design waiting room design

Waiting Room, Washroom and Breakroom Design in a Post-Covid World

 

Many offices and organizations are in a state of transition now. As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and things “return to normal,” many business leaders have to navigate the complex process of welcoming back employees, guests, visitors, and clients to their workspaces. As such, quality design choices in public spaces like waiting rooms, washroom facilities, and breakrooms can have a big impact on the nature of a workspace now and well into the future. Here, we’ll discuss some important design considerations for public areas at private offices in a post-Covid world:

Prioritize Cleanliness & Hygiene

Keeping an office clean and encouraging personal hygiene are smart public health practices at all times. This means that business leaders may consider leaving in place certain COVID-19 protocols forever. Having hand sanitizer available, scheduling regular cleaning sessions, removing clutter on a regular basis, and wiping down commonly-touched surfaces are all worthwhile practices that can help cut down on the spread of many illnesses. Additionally, keeping public areas clean and fresh is imperative for any business that welcomes guests or visitors. People will judge your waiting room or your bathroom just as much as they will judge your personal office.

Physical Distancing

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic many businesses either significantly reduced or eliminated public spaces in their offices. Now though, as businesses re-open to the public, the question of personal space has become very prescient. One of the lingering effects of COVID-19 might be an added emphasis on physical distancing in public areas. Where tables, chairs, and gathering places were once placed close together, businesses may now be well-advised to keep them spaced out. Many individuals may be hesitant to share close quarters with others for a long time to come. What’s more, increased privacy in washrooms, breakrooms, and even waiting areas may improve office functionality. People value their own personal space, after all.

Virtual Possibilities

A large number of organizations introduced new virtual measures over the past year or so. While many were short-term policies, some organizations may continue to offer remote employment options and remote services to clients. This means that virtual meetings may still play a vital role in how an office functions moving forward. Crucially, having the capacity to connect with coworkers/clients can help businesses retain flexibility –– which leads us to our final point . . .

Versatility

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t predict the future. Businesses have to change and adapt all the time, which is why versatility is so important to overall office design. Purchasing multi-purpose furniture, for instance, can help your organization change your office layout on an as-needed basis. Plus, work areas that serve more than one purpose will allow your company to most effectively use the space available in your office. Some businesses may even invest in products like modular walls, which can be deployed to significantly alter the layout of an office on a temporary basis. Given the current state of general uncertainty around so many issues, business leaders may benefit from opting for flexible office design concepts that allow them to adapt to new developments quickly and effectively.

Contact Us

Key Interiors is dedicated to helping our clients find office design solutions that fit their needs, budget, and timeframe. We have years of experience in this field, and we’ll work with your team through the entire design and build-out process. Contact us here to learn more or to schedule a consultation with us today.

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Office Design waiting room design

Medical Office Waiting Room Design with COVID-19 In Mind

COVID-19 has touched nearly every industry over the course of the last year. However, no group has been more directly affected than healthcare and medical service providers. Indeed, the strain placed on professionals in the medical field over the past nine months has been nothing short of massive. As a result of the pandemic, business leaders have had to rethink the way they use their office space to protect their staff and patients from infection. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine how best to optimize medical office waiting room design given the current situation. Still, it is possible for business leaders to make smart decisions about the future of their office space without taking unnecessary risks. 

The Current State of Medical Office Waiting Rooms

The reality of the moment is that medical waiting rooms are changing. Rather than having patients come in and sit down in a public space together, some medical facilities have adopted new means of welcoming and processing patients. Perhaps the most efficient way for medical facilities to schedule appointments is to have virtual check-ins. Alternatively, many medical facilities now require patients to wait in their car (or at least outside of the building) once they’ve been checked in. Further, typical aspects of medical waiting rooms –– like shared common areas, juice and snack bars, and play spaces at pediatrician’s offices –– have been shelved for the foreseeable future. 

The few waiting rooms still in use in medical facilities are likely to be very scaled back. These areas may only accommodate one or two individuals at a time. (I.E. they may only have one or two chairs spaced very far apart or chairs taped off to enforce social distancing guidelines.) Of course, any space where a patient has to wait to see a medical professional should be sanitized frequently and it should be as socially distanced as possible. 

The good news here is that many patients will expect and even welcome these measures. Few patients are going to be upset about waiting in their car, waiting in an isolated area, or going straight to a private area. Note, it is a good idea for medical facilities to inform their patients what to expect in terms of their wait when they make an appointment. Giving them information online –– or even written out on a sign near your entrance –– can help adjust patient expectations and ensure everyone stays on the same page.

Medical Office Waiting Room Design Next Steps

At this point you might be wondering what business leaders can do to improve their medical waiting rooms. Remember that waiting room enhancements are designed to improve the patient experience. However, given the current situation with the pandemic, the key to ensuring a good visit for most patients is keeping them safe and socially-distanced. So the fact that so many medical facilities have taken steps to accommodate visitors remotely is a good thing. In a way, this may even increase the efficiency of a given medical facility and streamline the process for patients. 

For now, the best way to improve medical office waiting room design with COVID-19 in mind may simply be to keep it clean, welcoming, and –– as often as possible –– empty. Adding barriers or reducing seating may help patients who do have to sit in the waiting area feel comfortable. This space can also be repurposed to accommodate for COVID-19 and temperature testing. Again, in a strange way, showing that your team is taking the pandemic seriously can act to assuage the concerns of your visitors.  

In the future, medical waiting rooms may again become a focal point for organizations. And measures like creature comforts and shared areas may again become valuable features. 

Contact Us

At Key Interiors, we’ve partnered with medical facilities for many years and we appreciate the challenges businesses in this industry face. We can work with your organization to develop new office design plans that will serve you well today and into the future. Contact us here to learn more. 

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Office Design reception desk designs waiting room design

Reception Area Design and Build: How to Stick to a Timeline

reception area design by Key Interiors

It’s possible to make an argument that the reception desk is the most important space in any office. Waiting rooms often help form the first impression a client, partner, or new employee has of a company. Additionally, individuals may have to spend 5-10 minutes unattended in a reception area before their appointment begins. So, if your company values getting off on the right foot with visitors, quality reception area design is key.

The most recent need for a reception renovation has been caused by the infamous COVID. Shared spaces in the office environment have been put in the spotlight with a skyrocketing focus on hygiene in the workplace. Office managers and business owners want to redesign their waiting area to have easy-to-clean surfaces and plenty of space for a few people to sit while adhering to social distancing.

Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to schedule much-needed reception renovations. Few businesses can afford to shut down completely for months at a time to complete an office redesign. And reception repairs can be uniquely disruptive to regular business. With that in mind, today we’ll share a few tips on how business leaders can create a renovation schedule –– and stick to it –– when they decide to upgrade their reception area.

Account for Scheduling Variables

When planning an office renovation project, it’s unwise to base your schedule only on the time it will take to complete the actual, physical component of the redesign. That’s because a number of logistical variables can slow down or halt your team’s progress. As such, it’s crucial for business leaders to build variables into their renovation schedule. If you fail to account for material lead times, building permit requirements, engineering issues, lease stipulations, building code standards, bad weather conditions, and/or potential tenant disruptions, then it’s possible (if not likely) that your project will run over schedule. 

Avoid High-Volume Periods

Many businesses follow seasonal patterns. Or, at the very least, most companies experience periods of high and low customer volume. If at all possible, avoid scheduling renovations during weeks/months when you know your team will be busy. Planning a renovation during your off-season can minimize the impact on your day-to-day operations.

Note that some businesses choose to schedule the bulk of their renovations at night or on weekends. While this can help expedite the process, hiring contractors to work outside of “normal” hours will cost a premium. So, keep that in mind.

Utilize Alternative Spaces

Some businesses may be able to make use of temporary office spaces or entrances while renovations take place on their regular reception area. Business leaders may also consider using remote technology to complete check-ins with visitors during reception area renovations. Additionally, having certain staff members work remotely for a period of time could free up extra space to use as a “de-facto” waiting area. This may not be ideal, but it could significantly cut down on your renovation timetable.

Break it Up

Occasionally, a reception area may need a complete overhaul and need it ASAP. More often than not, though, businesses can effectively schedule redesigns in phases. By introducing positive changes bit by bit, businesses can improve their reception area design without affecting the regular rhythm of their organization.

Contact the Pros

Overseeing an office renovation calls for a huge commitment of time and resources. Since many business leaders already work 50+ hours a week, it simply may not be possible for them to take on this task as well. The good news is that by partnering with a firm like Key Interiors, professionals can ensure their office design project both 1) fulfills their original vision and 2) is completed on time and on budget. Our team has years of experience completing reception area projects, and we understand the numerous nuances and challenges such undertakings present. You can contact us here to learn more or to get started today!