Work is well underway to bring Covid-19 vaccinations to the populace, but it’s going to take the better part of 2021 to achieve the desired 80% percent vaccination threshold recommended by health experts. Expect to see employees re-enter the traditional office slowly but surely as companies attempt to get back into the normal swing of things.
In the meantime, companies can figure out ways to strategize in the face of the pandemic with their office furniture layouts. There are three common office layouts that many businesses choose from, depending on their own space. Here they are, with recommendations on how to keep employees safe while vaccinations are rolled out.
This particular office layout has become one of the most popular around the world due to its revolutionary, yet controversial design scheme. Open concept offices do away with walls, separators and cubicles in favor of a collaborative space designed to keep teammates interacting with one another. The idea here is for everyone to be within view and earshot in order to foster better communication and face-to-face interaction. However, many have lamented the lack of privacy and increased noise and distractions that come with such a layout, which is why the open concept approach remains hotly debated.
Since there are less physical barriers between employees, companies should space out their office furniture in order to maintain social distancing guidelines. Masks should be worn at all times, and surfaces wiped down both by employees and cleaning personnel. This goes double for companies who use the “hot desking” approach where multiple employees share a single desk at different times of the day. fluid concepts’ furniture products can be accessorized with our separator screens and similar items, or added to your existing office layout in order to keep employees distanced without isolation or lack of communication.
A big trend that popped up in 2018 and 2019 was the coworking space, whereby multiple companies would share the same office space in order to drive down leasing costs. This was an especially good trick for startup companies who wanted to save cash and reinvest in their company for faster growth. With a bit of careful planning, forethought and communication between teams, two (or more) companies could share the same office furniture at any given time.
Naturally, this approach comes with a host of risks while the pandemic was in full swing. Cleanliness is a must with this particular layout style, especially with so many people coming and going. It’s also much harder to track employees and know where they’ve been, or whether they are showing symptoms. Communication between company heads is a must in order to guarantee that everyone is kept in the loop. If an employee shows symptoms, they should be sent home or to a doctor immediately, while the info should be shared with the other team(s). Once again, separators like the ones offered by fluid concepts can go a long way to minimizing this risk.
Flexible workspaces were designed so that employees could leverage a greater work/life balance by coming into the office as needed or desired. This is especially great for companies short on office space who are growing at a faster-than-anticipated rate. By allowing some employees to work remotely while coming into the office for meetings or special projects, the office remains streamlined and efficient.
The issue with flexible workspaces in a Covid-19 climate is the difficulty in keeping track of employees who are coming and going. Remote workers may come into the office and inadvertently bring an infection along with them. Alternatively, office workers may spread a Covid infection to the remote worker who is otherwise isolated safely at their home office. Care should be taken to monitor every employee to make sure they are infection-free, before being allowed entry to the premises. For companies with a large influx of employees, it may be beneficial to implement the use of a quick testing kit or an infrared thermometer in order to quickly screen out potentially infected workers.
Hopefully the pandemic is making its last stand before it succumbs to a mix of vaccinations and herd immunity, but in the meantime, companies need to stay on guard. Make sure to implement the right office furniture choices that can keep employees safe, while reorganizing the layout of your office to keep employees socially distanced, at least for the duration. For more information on how fluid concepts’ products are helping in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, please contact us today.