The Post- COVID-19 Workplace

Author:

Allison Towles Senior Interior Designer

Category:

  • Design

Posted:

May 12, 2020

COVID-19 Design Awareness

Over the last couple of months, we have all adjusted to the ‘new normal’ or working from our home ‘offices’.  If you’re anything like me though you’re itching to get back to real life because you really miss your desk, and your task chair, and your work family!   But what does the post COVID-19 workplace look like?  As an Interior Designer, I have already started receiving requests and questions about what some of the best practices are, and how things will need to change.

In the reopening stages of  COVID-19, there are several things that can be taken into consideration and implemented in office workspaces related to:

  • Density
  • Cleanliness
  • Remote Work
  • Collaboration

Below are some strategies that NKB will be implementing in our own office and that we are sharing with our clients:

Create social distance between workstations. 

We’ve all become acutely aware of what 6’ looks like, so now it needs to be implemented in the workstation as well.  This means at workstations, meeting spaces, and break rooms among others.  In our corporate office in Downtown Syracuse,  we plan to shift the desks to eliminate face-to-face’ orientation and go to ‘back-to-back’ orientation instead.  We will also be removing chairs from the break room and conference rooms.

Workstations   

Some modifications to implement at Workstations may include:

  • Changing user orientation 
  • Increasing  height of screens / panels 
  • Replacing soft surfaces with hard surfaces 
Current Workstations
Future Workstation

 

Conference Rooms

Some modifications to implement in Conference Rooms may include:

  • Decreasing density to maintain social distance 
  • Using modular furniture for easy reconfiguration 
  • Using bleach cleanable surfaces 
Current Conference Room
Future Conference Room

 

Add vertical barriers where necessary.

The recommendation we’re hearing from industry partners is that partitions should now rise 3’ above work surfaces.  In offices with cubicles, this could mean the addition of a glass or plexi panel on top of panels.

Locate cleaning supply stations throughout the office for ease of use.

Similarly to gyms offices should now have disinfecting stations throughout for employees to be able to clean their work surfaces.  These stations should also be located in heavy traffic areas such as break rooms and bathrooms.

De-clutter the office.

Having more things means more places for the virus to live.  Right now is a great time to encourage employees to bring their troll dolls home and get rid of all those magazines accumulated on their desk they’ve been meaning to read.  Clear spaces are easier to clean

We are all learning as we go and there are surely more changes to come in the workplace this year.  These are just a few ideas to think through and incorporate into your strategies going forward into the “new normal!” If you need any assistance reimagining or repurposing your work space, please reach out to me at atowles@nkbpc.com 

Office imagery provided by one of our vendors, Haworth, Inc.

 

Author:

Allison Towles Senior Interior Designer

Category:

  • Design

Posted:

May 12, 2020