Post COVID Workplace Design
The COVID-19 pandemic stirred up every aspect of our lives in countless ways. Many workplaces closed their physical doors in compliance with Federal and State ordinances that considered most of the workforce “non-essential”. Legally and morally employers must make sure their workers are in a safe and healthy work environment. Subsequently, the daily commute to work suddenly ended resulting in employees working virtually from home. Now, a year later as employees begin reentering the physical workplace, we are noticing a lot of changes emerging in post COVID workplace design.
Physical distancing is essential to make employees feel safe as they reenter the workplace. However, the six-foot rule has also created many challenges for employers. There must be a balance between safety, efficiency, and enough physical space to distance employees. Occupancy capacity, furniture arrangement, and general workspace configuration should be reviewed and reconfigured.
Post COVID Workplace Design Open Floor Plans
Open floor plans allow for more flexibility with individual workspaces, cubicles, partitions, or dividers. It harvests communication and interaction while allowing employees to have privacy. Open floor plans are also easier to clean and disinfect because it reduces the number of surfaces that employees are touching (doorknobs, light switches, etc.)
Circulation Patterns & Signage
Employees, customers, visitors, and everyone in the workplace must be able to enter, exit, and move through travel pathways safely while maintaining distance. Safe circulation can be accomplished by using signs and directional arrows as guidance. Post COVID workplace design requires rearranging layouts to ensure adequate width in passing, additional shielding, and directional traffic.
Light quality impacts worker’s mentality, productivity, health, and overall wellbeing. It is important to make sure natural lighting is distributed throughout the workplace and light obstructions are minimized. Glass or clear walls, doors, and partitions are one way to maintain privacy without reducing natural lighting. If these are not viable options, investing in intelligent LED lighting is another approach to create the same effects of natural lighting.
Creating an outdoor meeting area, workspace, or spot to eat lunch are becoming popular. Employees feel like they are less likely to get sick when working in the fresh air. Outdoor workspaces also increase concentration, creativity, happiness, and employee engagement.
Comforts of Home
A lot of the workforce has been working from home for the last year, so naturally post COVID workplace design involves incorporating the comforts of home. This includes natural elements like plants, warmer color schemes, comfortable furniture, an ergonomic space, and soft materials.
Materials, Finishes, & Surfaces
Natural materials such as certain timbers, metals, and linens have properties that organically destroy bacteria. Antimicrobial surfaces like copper, bronze, quarts, brass, marble, and limestone can withstand heavy cleaning and disinfecting. These materials, finishes, and surfaces are becoming popular in the workplace because of their durability and stylish look.
The CDC guidelines can be overwhelming especially when factoring in layout functionality, employee safety, productivity, comfort, and performance. L’IMAGE Design Studio has years of expertise in Commercial Interior Design and Architecture. With Back to Your Building Wellness Reopening Services by L’IMAGE Design Studio, you will be able to remove the guesswork from your reopening strategy and be ready to meet the workers who are returning to your spaces. The Back to Your Building package will help you be proactive and ready for the post COVID-19 workplace.