Design Safer Offices for Your Employees during COVID-19
As it becomes evident that the COVID-19 pandemic may drag on for many more weeks, even months, it’s apparent that offices will need to be redesigned to keep employees safe. Workplace design has undergone many shifts through the last century, from a traditional separated workplace to open spaces and cubicles. You may be surprised to learn that Frank Lloyd Wright designed the first open office in 1939 at the Johnson Wax Headquarters. Unfortunately, the open office and cubicle designs that are so common today don’t work for COVID. Demountable walls Houston offices can be one way to provide safety for employees who need to be in the office without completely taking away your office culture.
CDC Recommendations For Office Design Under COVID
Designing a safer office starts with understanding how to slow the spread of COVID among employees. The CDC has many recommendations, including:
- Modifying workstations to separate employees and visitors, including transparent shields or other physical barriers.
- Using methods such as demountable walls Houston to physically separate employees in all areas of the building.
- Improving building ventilation and airflow.
- Enhancing cleaning procedures.
- Staggering start and stop times to decrease the number of people in the building at any given time.
What Steps Should Your Office Take?
Every office will need to look at the design of their own space to know where to start with office redesign. Physical barriers that provide social distancing will be one of the first changes most offices need to make. Instead of using drywall to separate desks, movable walls Houston offer an open office feel without confining people in and eliminating natural lighting.
Demountable walls Houston are a popular way to divide up space in the office because an office can install them quickly with a clean look. These walls are movable and reusable, giving your office flexibility. They can be installed quickly to reduce your office downtime. Demountable walls also offer privacy that you can’t get in an open office, but using glass wall systems make people feel connected.
COVID-19 is an airborne virus, which means some offices may need to take a look at their HVAC system and ventilation systems. Air that flows down from the ceiling is thought to be safer than air flowing up from the floor. Security windows could be replaced with windows that open to provide greater airflow.
The CDC also recommends eliminating items that are touchpoints. Installing double-swing doors or motion sensor lights reduces the surfaces that are in contact with multiple people each day. Surfaces that can be cleaned with bleach or other chemicals may need to be introduced to the office. Video-conferencing spaces may need to be updated to allow people to meet without traveling to other offices.
Every office should go through an inspection of its strengths and weaknesses to determine the best methods to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Identify places where employees could have an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 germs. The CDC recommends including all employees in the redesign plan to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Don’t forget to talk to janitorial and maintenance staff who aren’t necessarily in the office all day.
Communicate With Your Team
Even the best office design for COVID-19 won’t prevent the spread of the virus if you don’t communicate with your team and keep them up to date with information. Your office should post signage to remind workers and visitors about safety and hygiene, social distancing, and cleaning recommendations. Taping the floor to keep traffic flowing in one direction can minimize cross-contamination. Make six-foot circles around desks to remind team members to keep their distance. Don’t forget about your elevators. You may need to reduce the number of people who can be in an elevator space at one time.
Ask About Demountable Walls Houston
There is a lot to consider under COVID-19 to keep your team safe, but employers are required to provide a healthy and safe work environment. If you’re considering bringing your team back after working from home, consult with ROSI. Visit our showroom to discuss your office retrofitting needs. We’re a local company that understands the situation in Texas. We’ve been in the office design business for 30 years, so we know the community.
Design Safer Offices for Your Employees during COVID-19 | ROSI Office Systems Inc. – Houston, TX