How to prepare your workplace for a return to the office? 6 things you should reconsider!
Since March 2020 we have learned that the Covid-19 is not very predictable. Yet, we can design the workplaces in a way that limits the spread of various infectious viral outbreaks. What’s essential in adjusting offices and maintaining the right balance between health and safety, comfort, sustainability, and privacy rights for office users?
We are wiser after over a year of the pandemic. In the face of this new reality, Skanska has taken steps to outline a way of readjusting the working environment for employees who will return to offices.
"Our efforts were directed at indicating how to create a working environment, which will encourage people to work in offices and at the same time maintain the company culture. Together with our partners, we have tried to redefine the future of workplaces and adapt the concept to help respond to their needs. The future office will not be just some location that the employees have to go to every, day, but a place where they want to be. It will facilitate socializing, sharing experiences, and finding the balance between personal and working life," says Adam Targowski, Environmental Director at Skanska’s commercial development business unit in CEE.
Skanska has developed the “Care for Life Office Concept” to adapt to the current situation. It was designed with the focus on making employees feel safe when they come back to work. How to design an office where people can work during a pandemic? Here are the recommended solutions for fit-outs that meet pandemic guidelines:
1. An increased amount of focus rooms
A vital motivator to work in the office is now a quiet workplace, allowing people to concentrate. Working in an enclosed, comfortable space increases productivity. Turn an open space into several focus rooms with different functions. Allow for standing or seated work as well as rest.
2. Amenities in spaces enabling collaboration
According to a Skanska study, people still prefer going to the office. However, in the post-pandemic era, offices will have to offer more than before – they should be better, more comfortable and exciting than what we have at home. Different types of work spaces, such as creative work rooms or remote forms of collaboration, will improve safety and freedom of choice in how to work. For effective relaxation, create team meeting spaces and in-building services, such as coffee shops, games rooms, or Pilates classes.
3. Use of meeting rooms during the pandemic
Meeting room capacity should be reduced during the pandemic. Sensors that collect occupancy data make it possible to control the number of participants. Provide more flexibility in the office space. When holding large meetings is not possible in a room, rearrange the open space.
4. Proptech solutions help to optimize space occupancy
Computer simulations increasingly drive tenants to optimize space usage based on statistical probabilities. Sensors, heat maps, and traffic monitoring are areas of proptech that are already supporting tenants in their management decisions. Observe, analyze and schedule traffic in your office.
5. Desk width wider than 1.6 meters
The socially distanced office has reshaped the office furniture. It’s called the Six Feet Office. It is a way of transforming existing offices into places where the six-feet distance rule is obeyed (6ft = 1.83 meters). Provide desks that are at least 1.6 meters wide. This will ensure comfort and make it easier to maintain the necessary social distance. Arrange rows of desks 2 meters apart to keep walkways safe.
6. Suspension of desk-sharing
Desk-sharing is a common solution in flexible offices. However, it should be carefully reviewed, as the workspace should be assigned to only one employee during the day. Thorough disinfection of the workspace is a priority that should be performed every day.
Creating user-orientated workplaces is a challenge for every business. Skanska shares good practices by providing tenants with professional advisory services in office safety. Consequently, the developer actively responds to the client’s current needs or even helps adjust existing and future fit-outs to new safety requirements.