The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that work is done for millions of Americans. And as offices begin to open up, those changes will continue. For offices where communal spaces or open floor plans were once the norm, it’s important to adapt to current health and hygiene protocols.
Wondering what the office of the future will look like? Nobody knows for sure, but there are several changes that are sure to take place.
Elevator exclusivity. The days of people crowding into an elevator is going to the way of the dinosaur. In order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, it’s important that only one or two people use the elevator at a time. This will reduce close contact between team members and prevent the risk of aerosols.
Seating switches. In larger offices, you will see partitions more than likely put up so that people have guards between them. Some offices. are already making the transition to traditional cubicles. Others are installing clear, plastic partitions similar to the ones you see at the grocery store.
Meetings. When it comes to meetings, conference rooms are out. Managers need to prevent overcrowding. Many industry experts believe that virtual meetings using technology like Zoom will continue, even after offices reopen. This will allow team members to collaborate but without the risk of sharing germs with one another.
Handwashing stations. You’ll also want to make it easy for team members to stay hygienic. If you haven’t already, consider installing hand sanitizing stations or small sinks with soap dispensers. It’s also important to have disinfectants on hand, including wipes or sprays. That way, team members can wipe down their work area throughout the day.
Masks. The more we learn about COVID-19, the more we understand about how it spreads. Requiring team members to wear cloth face masks can significantly cut back on the release of aerosols (small water particles) through normal, everyday activities like breathing and speaking.
Staggered schedules. If your office is normally cramped, it may be time to consider a staggered schedule. Having employees work a reduced number of days in office, followed by a few days of working from home, can lower the risk of contact between team members. If fewer people are in the office, it’s also easier to clean and sanitize the areas that people have come in contact with.
The end of the open office. Over the past decade, the trend has been to open up the office and have fewer walls. Well, that will be quickly reversed. While work stations in normal offices are by nature six feet away or more, the corner office that was a relaxing communal space for coffee or even a few yoga mats will probably be converted back to additional desk areas.
We don’t know how long social distancing measures will last for, but we’re here to assist you and your team in this brave new world. Call us today at (713) 789-6006 to find out more.