Offices that consider hygiene and safety
The global coronavirus pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for our daily and professional lives. Regardless of the current state of spread of the disease and government regulations, it is therefore appropriate to establish new conditions in offices for the long term, where the effort to protect all employees and visitors from possible infection plays a key role. In addition to employees changing some habits, it is necessary to focus primarily on the design and furnishing of office space. Here are some key areas that future virus protection measures in the office should cover.
Hygiene comes first
The coronavirus and many other diseases, including the flu, are transmitted through the air by means of exhaled droplets, which can survive for hours and days on various types of surfaces if they are not thoroughly disinfected. The main defence against proliferation is therefore the greatest possible restriction of direct and indirect contact with people.
Often, we do realize the sheer number of places where there is mutual contact. In toilets, most people certainly prefer the highest level of privacy, but even so, we touch the door handles, water taps or rolls of toilet paper, which were touched by dozens of people before us.
The first line of defence is regular cleaning, the second is setting up the entire system to reduce indirect contact. Hand disinfectants should be freely available not only in toilets, but in many places throughout the office. Preferably in automatic dispensers where you don't need to touch a pump or cap.
Water taps can be adjusted in a similar way thanks to sensors. Toilet paper feeders prevent both indirect contact and often excessive waste. Finally, it is also possible to modify the toilet door, which can be opened without touching it or with just a light push of the shoulder.
People can social distance even in an open space
Instead of the usual open space concept, companies are beginning to prefer a more modular and separate space, which can be changed according to the current needs of teams or individual employees. Therefore, shrewdly placed partitions or screens can provide privacy and protection against the droplets produced by potentially ill colleagues.
In many stores we can now find cash registers separated using simple plexiglass. The functionality of cash registers is not limited in any way and communication remains the same as before, but employees are better protected. Likewise, the clever separation of workspaces and the use of dividing elements can ensure the safest working conditions even in an open space.
Choose the right materials
The materials used also play a crucial role in preventing the spread. For example, copper has been shown to have significant antiviral effects and the novel coronavirus will survive on it only for a very short period of time. Brass works similarly. It is therefore good to use these metals to produce door handles and other elements where there is indirect contact between many people.
Easy to clean
All materials in the office interior should be easy to clean and resistant to common disinfectants. For example, have you ever wondered why we often see relatively unsightly linoleum in hospitals instead of elegant rugs? In terms of hygiene, carpets, in which bacteria, viruses and other impurities accumulate quickly, are not among the best solutions for the floor. In other words, it is necessary
to find solutions that enhance the appearance of the office while bringing hygienic benefits.
Smart storage minimizes contact
Until recently nobody would be surprised or troubled by the presence of a courier in the office. But now we should think more about what contact with other people is absolutely necessary. Instead of handing over packages directly, you can easily set up a smart storage system in the office, where the employee can pick up the shipment whenever they need to with the help of a simple app. We especially recommend the Blocks multifunctional smart box systems.
More peace of mind on distance calls
Privacy thanks to divided space
Working from home has become a more common part of office work. Some global companies have introduced teleworking, others rotating teams in the office. While Team A works in the office, others communicate over the phone or by video conference. Gradually, the whole department alternates.
For truly effective communication, however, it is necessary to ensure privacy and good acoustic conditions. Quiet micro-offices or soundproof phone booths suitable for phone calls and video conversations will allow the whole team to function fully, even if some members must work from home
Prepare your offices for the future
The pandemic has given rise to many challenges, of which modifying offices to minimize the risk of infection is but one. Thanks to office modifications and clever implementation, you will be prepared for the future while contributing to the prevention of further spread.
Photo authors: Milan Mošna, Rastislav Blaško, Unsplash, Martina Prášková, Ondřej Bouška (Adam Costey photography), Blocks, Bluehouse Capital
Published August 5, 2020