Commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield has developed guidelines for companies around the world planning a return to their offices, based on learnings from helping 10,000 organizations in China.
Part of our “new normal” society is a safer workspace, which will look quite different from those we all left behind in March. The company used its own office space as a pilot design, calling it “The 6 Feet Office.” The layout uses of large circles and other visual cues on the floors to help ensure a separation of six feet between employees at all times.
The Needs of Employees Have Changed
Most companies should encourage a slow and gradual return to the office. Employees that are immuno-compromised, in caretaker roles, and those who would be unduly exposed by complex or long commutes should be encouraged to stay home as long as possible. The people that should come back first are those who can’t be productive at home because they don’t have the right desk or home office set up or need labs, secure files, or high computing power.
How to Design Workplaces for the New Normal
Traffic flows in office spaces should be designed to go in one direction to reduce “pinch points” where people may collide. Floors plans should help orient people and avoid crossings and intersecting. Many conference rooms will likely see a reduced capacity. A six-person meeting room might have chairs removed so it becomes a room for two. Alternating desks may be cordoned off like a checkerboard to allow for more distancing space. Kitchens will need to be designed differently to reduce touchpoints on anything previously shared.
6 Feet Office Features
To enhance spacing between office workers, clear shields between workstations, as always walking the office in the same direction, entering and leaving meeting rooms as indicated, and replacing desk pads daily will help create social distancing. Marks or signs with a 6-foot radius provide a visual cue to employees as well.
Given our future workplace will have a new set of constraints, the balance between work from home and physically going into offices is bound to change. Many companies may choose to downsize their leases or look for flexible office space rather than long term leases. If you are looking for more information on re-designing your workplace for pandemic compliance, contact MAC Today. MAC is a contractor Kansas City property and facility managers have trusted for more than 25 years. MAC can help you with any facility repairs, remodeling, custom cabinetry and many other projects. Contact us today for a free consultation.