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Office Layout Planning Post COVID-19

Kirsten Delcie September 21, 2020

It’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the workplace. Since the world went into complete lockdown, companies have had to adopt a work-from-home approach and introduce new workforce measures to protect the safety of their staff and employees.

As markets begin to normalize, and while some staff will continue working remotely depending on their job description, we’ll soon see the return of most employees to the office, which means a recovery plan with new requirements will need to be put in place.

Adhere to Government Rules and Regulations

Most companies were following the advice set out by their government. And even though they’ve eased some of their restrictions, the pandemic is far from over. A second wave has hit most of Europe and its surroundings. So, it’s vital for businesses to continue to stay informed, connected, and to follow the rules and guidelines that are implemented by law.

In terms of office layout, firms should collaborate with governing bodies and health inspectors to make sure they are doing everything they can to reduce the risk of infections, even if that means rearranging a few desks and chairs around.

Health and Safety First

To keep office-or workspace-bound staff safe and to limit the spread of coronavirus infections, health and safety protocols will still need to be in place and properly managed. Office managers should provide all staff and employees with company masks and hand sanitizers beforehand and make it compulsory for employees to have their temperatures checked daily.

Offices should have hand sanitizer dispenser stands, whether foot-operated or hands-free, scattered throughout their space. If that means the removal of individual furniture pieces that aren’t being utilized, then so be it. Recent studies have suggested that the COVID-19 virus may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. Hence, less is more when it comes to tackling this pandemic, and offices will need to restructure their space to make it more minimalistic.

Another health and safety precaution offices can include, is the adoption of cleaner air ventilation, so investing in air purifiers is a must. Office managers can also rearrange desks to be positioned or closer to windows to prevent the virus from spreading.

A reimagined space

Before the pandemic started, architects and designers alike used to encourage open-plan office layouts and team-based and co-working spaces. Not only was this layout more cost-effective for owners, but it also promoted a better cohesive working environment for companies.

Obviously, this simplified, yet modern layout will have to change now because social distancing remains at the core of keeping everyone safe. To de-densify the workspace, and maintain the physical distance boundaries, companies will need to separate workstations apart from one another - or block off a certain number of desks that are close to each other.

The use of conference rooms will have to be considered – these should be closed for the time being or remain open, but with limited capacity – as staff turn to online chat services like Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom for their meetings. Firms are also choosing to erect space-dividing partitions to separate colleagues from another.

Level of Occupancy

Thanks to social distancing, the number of staff working in an office on any given day has changed drastically. Employees are now being told which days they can be based in the office and which days they can work remotely. This will mean less staff in the office at the same time, so less chance of possible infections.

Fit-out contractors realize these new challenges that firms are now facing. Not only do they want to make sure firms put the safety and wellbeing of their employees at the forefront, but they also want to ensure firms adhere to the right rules and regulations. After all, businesses need to remain compliant and work closely with government if they wish to continue with their operations.

Looking to rearrange your office space so that it falls more in line with COVID-19’s health and safety regulations?

Contractors.Direct can help with any reorganizing or redesigning of the office layout that you may need. Simply, browse our portal of vetted contractors, and you’ll be ready to fully operate in a functioning and safe environment, in no time!

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