Everything has changed. In our business, many of the traditional criteria we use when designing an office/workplace are out the window, and whilst we may now hope that these changes might only be for the medium term, they are likely to have longer term implications. No workplace will be unaffected in trying to meet the new challenges……….BUT WE ARE HERE TO HELP!
There is no one action that will solve the current challenge in the workplace, rather we have a range of solutions, that when applied together, will, we believe, ensure your workplace is fit for this “New Reality”. Some of the changes will be structural, some technological and others will be behavioural/trained and most of the responsibility will lie with the individual, but we need to alter habits, alter layouts, and make minor structural changes in our workplaces to support the individual
and to make them feel comfortable, productive and safe.
One significant approach can be summed up as “Automation”- this is one significant way we can reduce contact and thus transfer. We can automate everything from doors, taps, dispensers, to lights, coffee machines and beyond.
Physical changes will take a few forms. In its simplest, we will need to reconsider the proximity to each other that exists and we may need to increase the distances between individuals, provide more separation and also create more circulation space. This could be achieved thru de-densification or layout changes. One of the great success stories of the recent crisis is that way we work has changed with the widespread use of Video Conferencing and it would seem that face to face meetings are a thing of the past….for the moment at least. Businesses are going to need less small meeting rooms, and more phone-booth type spaces, and these will need to be designed not just with practicality as before, but also with maintaining an environment that is clean, remains so and can be used by many staff with confidence that it is safe to do so.
Personal habits- aside from the need for the individual to regularly wash their hands or use sanitiser, we need to reduce contact and we believe shared equipment will be the first to go. Re-usable and personal coffee cups will be standardised throughout all workplaces; staff will bring their own plates and cutlery, and food will be pre-prepared offsite. There will be areas where we simply can’t avoid contact- using a microwave for instance, and there will need to be a new regime around using such facilities and new habits formed- staggered breaks for instance. Traffic plans- as crazy as this sounds, a controlled circulation route throughout the workspace will reduce impact areas and contact. It is likely that stairs will revert to being the main means to traverse thru a building and the enclosed lift the exception. Your fire escape could be your new upwards only route………
Over the next few weeks, we are all going to re-assess much that we have taken for granted. The way to ensure business continuity is to ensure your workplace is safe in the first instance. We have an array of solutions with a proven supply chain behind them and stand ready to help. We’re here to help and happy to discuss by phone, video conference or in person where appropriate.