In case you are interested in other office-related content that tackles the effect of the pandemic, we suggest you check out our COVID19 Learning Hub.
The COVID-19 pandemic is shifting the working world in various ways, some of which we don’t even know or fully understand just yet. Right now, many people are still forced to work from home.
At the same time, businesses are thinking about how to adapt to the fact that restrictions are easing up. Thereby, allowing certain people to return to work. This will require more stringent health and safety regulations and social distancing in office spaces.
For many, just thinking about all the factors involved in going back to work can be overwhelming. To help make this process a bit easier, we’ll provide some clarity on what kind of behaviors and physical changes offices can implement. This will help ensure that their employees can go back to work as safely as possible.
How Office Layouts Are Changing With The Pandemic
Going back to work requires a very different approach to how people operate and come in and out of a shared office space. Thus, many are considering various post-COVID office layout plans.
While these might involve several different elements, they are sure to include a variety of physical and material changes to the working environments we once knew before the pandemic.
The Six-Foot Office
In large communal offices, many companies are implementing what is referred to as the six-foot office. This type of office design makes sure that everyone can stay at least six feet from one another at all times. Thereby keeping in line with social distancing regulations.
In practice, this involves dividing up shared desks and installing materials, like plexiglass, between individual workspaces. This acts as a cough shield. The aim of this is to contain any possible infection by minimizing the spread of contaminated droplets.
Offices should also implement one-way walking areas. This will help to minimize the amount of contact that people have in shared corridors and other areas.
Apart from post-COVID office layout plans that focus on the interior of an office space, this social distancing protocol also applies to elevators, escalators, and the manner in which people approach an entry or exit turnstile. This means queuing at a safe distance and also sanitizing one’s hands upon entry/exit.
Strict Cleaning Procedures
Offices need to apply more stringent cleaning practices to all communal areas. This includes wiping down areas and sanitizing surfaces regularly. Employers should also encourage their employees to keep their workspaces as clean as possible.
Other Ways To Implement Health And Safety Regulations
Social distancing and improved health and sanitation measures will go a long way in helping to curb the spread of the virus. However, limiting the number of people in a specific space is also important.
This brings access control into the conversation around post-COVID office layout plans. Limiting the number of people in a particular space is important. Offices should also introduce things like no-touch access doors that help to minimize contact.
For this reason, offices should install access control measures. This will ensure that employees abide by certain schedules. With this, they can also choose to only open up certain areas at certain times of day for meetings and other urgent office activities.
Since access control measures like Kisi can be integrated with many different applications, implementing alternating work schedules and even shared desk schedules can also be managed remotely. This will help ensure that fewer employees come into contact with one another.
Surveillance And Contact Tracing
With the addition of integrated cameras and other functionality, it’s also possible to introduce contract tracing measures if necessary. This is useful in the event that someone in the workplace tests positive for an airborne viral infection like COVID-19.
In fact, this kind of office setup might require a new kind of employee function. Certain employees, both on-site and remote, can be employed to help maintain all the new protocols put in place to prevent the potential spread of a contagious disease.
Final Thoughts on Post-COVID Office Layout Plans
In this post, we’ve covered some of the basics when it comes to readying your workspace for a slow and controlled return to work processes. We’ve also included some ideas for post-COVID office layout plans.
Each office is different and post-COVID office layout plans are dependent on the size and scale of your workforce. However, you can still apply all of the above-mentioned considerations. This will help to make sure that you can return to a new “normal” as safely as possible.
Controlling all access points, limiting access, and designing an office space where employees can maintain a safe distance will go a long way in ensuring that employees can safely go back to the office.