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The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced nearly every aspect of workplace design, and the office is no exception.

Whether your office is in a warehouse, a factory, or even just part of a larger business park, there have been times where teams have been unable to work from home due to the various demands or duties of their jobs. And, as a result, the design of these offices has needed to change to meet the various social distancing protocols that have been put in place at federal and state levels.

Even if the overall capacity and population of your office has been reduced due to COVID-related safety protocols, there’s still some steps and redesigns to take in your office to ensure the safety of everyone still working on-site.


Redesigning Your Office, Post COVID-19

Spacing out needed equipment

In a lot of offices, there’s still a lot of stuff each worker needs to get things done. Individual computers, printers and copiers, even a fax machine in some cases (you’d be surprised).

While the science is still up in the air as to how much a shared surface can contribute to the potential spread of COVID-19, it’s still advisable to not have many people crowded around these devices at one time, and (better yet) to keep them far apart from one another to avoid cross-contamination. A few examples include:

  • Printers: to keep them off the floor and farther away from potential contamination, using printer wall shelves to set them a little farther away from the hustle and bustle elsewhere and avoid spreading anything that your workers may touch.
  • Individual desks: Any office desks where people sit will need to be much farther apart than they used to be. Especially in offices that used a more modern ‘open’ design, it’s generally recommended to keep your team one desk-width apart. This will likely result in empty desks between workers, but the added safety will be worth it.
  • Personal belongings: Obviously, your workers will still be bringing things like coats and laptop bags to the office with them. The safest bet is to give everyone their own individual workplace lockers or coat hooks, spaced far enough apart to not create a lot of congestion.


Smaller meeting areas – or no meeting areas

Meeting rooms and conference spaces were never anyone’s favorite room in the office, and after COVID-19 they may be getting a big redesign – or done away with entirely. Depending on the needs of your staff, conference rooms could be shrunk down to only accommodate one or two workers while allowing for teleconferencing with anyone working from home or in other remote locations. If you have extra meeting spaces that just aren’t going to be used at all during the pandemic, set up some desks and turn those into extra-distanced space for your employees.


Prevent traffic jams

Even with all of your desks and equipment spread apart, few things can contribute to the spread of illness like people accidentally bunching up in the same places. Try to start staggering your start times and break times to prevent workers coming in or leaving all at once, and make sure there’s not too many people in your lunch area at the same time.


Create a sanitation station at the door

Finally, a lot of the potential risk can be reduced if your workers are taking precautions right as they enter the office. Set up some germ-free shelving, like epoxy wire shelving or NSF plastic shelves with some hand sanitizer (and/or a place for them to set their belongings as they enter the office) and it can go a long way towards cutting down the spread of germs as they enter the building for work.

Optimistically, these changes won’t be permanent – but in the meantime, you can use them to keep your team safe as they go about their new days.

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