As things tentatively move towards a ‘new normal’ and the coronavirus lockdown eases, many businesses will be opening their offices up again. A recent survey from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) reported that 39% of workers are concerned about not being able to socially distance when back at work. Employers will be keen to settle the nerves of their team members and create a safe environment for them to return to. So what will workplaces look like after Covid-19?
Nobody likes having too many rules and regulations to follow, but in this instance, clear guidelines and extra rules may be seen as a welcome addition to help make staff feel safe. Although we all know the general rules regarding social distancing, when more team members return to the office it is harder to remember to stay apart. Having visual reminders such as posters or stickers on the floor/walls will help to remind employees that they need to sit a little further apart at lunch or that they should send an email rather than popping something on a colleagues desk.
Another rule that most workplaces will be introducing is a limit on the maximum number of people allowed in the office at any one time. Business owners/office managers may want to split employees into shifts throughout the day or give people certain days to come in whilst working from home on the remaining days if this is possible.
Perhaps the most effective addition to workplaces moving forward is physical barriers, partitions and walls. Not only do these remind team members to stay within their section but they also protect people from the virus. Installing smaller desktop barriers or ‘sneeze screens’ is a quick, easy and affordable solution that will have a huge impact on preventing the spread of the virus. Physical barriers come in all shapes and sizes, from full height partition walls that can create new offices and corridors to smaller screens around individual workstations. Installing these screens and partitions will make it much easier for staff to adhere to social distancing rules and should make everyone feel safer.
Although most offices had cleaners helping before the pandemic, the frequency now needs to be increased. Hygiene measures will need to be taken seriously by each staff member individually, hand sanitiser stations should be in place for people to use on entry and exit. Toilets and kitchens could now see rotas where they are disinfected at regular intervals throughout the day.
In addition to the increased cleaning routines, motion sensor soap dispensers and toilet flushes are a great way to reduce communal touchpoints that would usually be a prime culprit for spreading germs. Other technologies that will help include automatic doors and lifts.
Even though many employees will have been working from home, the need to collaborate and share ideas in person will always be there and so business owners need to create a safe space for employees to return to, at least for part of the working week. Proper preparation is key to protecting the health of employees and keeping the office open. As mentioned, screens and partitions are a quick fix that will have a huge impact so ensuring these are in place before staff arrive back at work is a great start. If you need help to create a safe, socially distanced floor plan for your office using screens and partitions then we can help. Take a look at this recent Case Study where we installed protective screens for a reception area in a large City of London office.
At Glass Partitioning UK we have years of experience in the office fit-out sector and we can help design and install social distancing solutions for your office. Get in touch today to find out more.