Ease Office Congestion
Retrofit – Workstation enclosures and space delineation has become essential. It is important to understand how collaborative spaces need to meet current safety norms. Workstations should be set up with appropriate distance between them, while rules regarding the use of common area furniture will address maintaining proper social distances. Hygienic products for employees, such as hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps, gloves, masks, and disinfectant wipes will become standard office supplies.
Reconfigure – It is crucial to ensure social and physical distancing by introducing new elements to the office. The introduction of plexiglass, panels, dividers, and wall enclosures will be key to re-purposing interior and exterior space for maximum occupancy. Traditionally, construction materials and fabrics were never considered amenities, however, post-pandemic they will have a spotlight. Offices built with construction materials that are antimicrobial, such as metallic and some laminate surfaces, as well as treated fabrics that can withstand strong cleaning treatments, will become more commonplace.
Re-invent – Other workplace amenities aided by technology will take on a prominent role. The inclusion of touchless dispensers, faucets, trash receptacles, paper towels, smart thermostats, and motion sensors will not only help reduce physical touch but prove to be cost saving at an imperative time. Think adaptability instead of permanence. Fluid instead of fixed.
Hospital Grade Elements
Eliminating pathogens being passed through droplets, physical proximity, and airborne transmissions will need to be targeted in design. The inclusion of quarantine rooms, oxygen supplies, and mask stations in office spaces have now reached beyond the realm of sci-fi and into reality.
Airflow, air quality, and filtration will be held to a higher standard. Office buildings may require major re-engineering to avoid virus exposure. Floor or zone based segmentation of the air distribution system will be the norm in future building designs. High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are likely to become a standard feature. Air changes per hour may have to be increased to ensure higher levels of air purity.
Investing in Physical Safety
Having undergone a long period of restricted movement, the behavior of employees will change, and they will require more physical and mental space, not to mention personal safety.
Despite these changes, we will always need workspaces that foster collaboration, innovation, creativity, and a sense of belonging. There will always be a desire for amenities like artfully designed meeting spaces, eating areas, or physical activity centers like gyms.
The experts at CAM Property Services are here to assist you in making your workspace pandemic resilient. While every organization varies with regard to privacy policies and shared spaces, returning to work will clearly be changed in many ways. Our clients have access to a wide variety of property management services and solutions informed by our in-house EHS subject matter expertise to address their evolving needs.
About The Author: Pranav Heryani is an EHS & Sustainability Specialist. Among the next generation of environmental professionals, his projects have encompassed both local and international efforts toward green initiatives with practical sustainability for the commercial sector.