How to Create a Workplace That’s COVID-Secure and Pandemic Ready
December 18, 2020
There’s no doubt the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live and work—perhaps forever. And if you’re a manager or business owner overseeing the transition back to the workplace post COVID-19, chances are, you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. With the situation changing on a daily basis, it can be hard to keep up with the current rules, regulations and best practice guidelines when it comes to preparing your workplace for a return to the office.
For the majority of organisations, the transition back to work will require a combination of short-term fixes to meet the legal obligations of a post-COVID workplace as well as a longer-term strategy that involves rethinking the space to ensure it’s better equipped to manage future challenges.
Prioritising the health and safety of your employees, clients and stakeholders should, of course, be front of mind. However, it’s important at the same time to ensure that the investment made in refining and transforming your work environment also represents ROI, to ensure the ongoing viability of your business.
There’s no doubt this presents a serious challenge. But the good news is, that with the right knowledge and support, you can find a solution that allows your workers to return to work with confidence.
Whether you are looking to implement a small scale refit or are ready to create a strategy for a complete refurbishment, our experienced team can offer expert advice. Contact Us today to discuss your unique workplace requirements and find out about how we can solve your workplace problems.
Read on to discover the key considerations (and strategies to combat them) for creating a workplace that is COVID-secure and pandemic ready.
Meeting Social Distance Spacing Requirements
One of the most important factors to get right in any office refit or refurbishment is maximising your available space to allow you to meet the guidelines of 1.5m social distancing. This needs to be carefully considered across all areas of the work environment— from individual workstations and desks, to shared spaces such as lunch rooms, boardrooms, bathrooms, corridors as well as entries and exits.
Flexible Working Arrangements
One thing the pandemic has taught us is that flexible working arrangements can be an effective way to operate, even under the most difficult circumstances. If we can make it work while juggling home-schooling and competing for available workspaces in the home, just imagine the outcome if we have a well-designed space and no interruptions! There has been a growing movement for a more widespread adoption of flexible working arrangements over the last decade and it seems clear that after experiencing it firsthand, both employees and employers may look to continue with work from home arrangements on an ongoing basis.
The New Normal for Communication
During times of restrictions, closures and lockdown, we have spent much more time communicating virtually, and have universally embraced video calls as an effective way to stay connected at work while apart. Online video communication platforms such as Zoom , Skype and WeBex have kept us in touch with clients, coworkers and even our family virtually while face-to-face meetings have not been possible.
Taking Hygiene Seriously
While a short-term solution to tackle hygiene may involve supplying hand sanitiser on every desk and installing a dispenser at entry points and shared spaces, there are some companies who are thinking of the bigger picture. As part of their long-term strategy and refit, they are incorporating design features such as permanent hygiene stations found in hospital office buildings to encourage hygiene practices can continue indefinitely.
Wellbeing Comes First
Supporting your team during these challenging times is a must to alleviate possible ongoing mental health concerns and assist your team in a smooth transition back to work. Whether your employees have been directly impacted through financial stress, illness or have struggled with isolation, prioritising positive mental health as they return to work is essential. For some, they will be itching to get back among their coworkers, while others may have thrived in a more peaceful home environment and be a little more reluctant. Understanding the differences and offering flexible solutions will go along way in creating a happy, loyal and productive team.
Finding ROI is a Must
For many businesses, the pandemic has seen profits take a hit, so getting ROI on any major expenditure is more important than ever. In the case of implementing COVID-safe measures, it’s a good idea to work with a complete strategy that addresses both the short-term requirements and long-term needs of the organisation. Making changes cohesively, as part of a complete strategy offers more value financially than leaving it open for ongoing issues (and subsequent expenses) to arise.
With the Right Strategy, a COVID-Secure Workplace is Achievable
While the challenges of a returning workforce can at times seem overwhelming, with the right approach, transforming your workplace into a COVID-secure environment is highly achievable. What’s more, with the right strategy in place, the physical transformation of your work environment can potentially lead to an invigorated workforce with an office that is designed especially to meet their changing needs.
Whether you have a vision of what you are striving for, or need guidance to bring it all together, partnering with the right interior design and fitout team allows you to make the most of this opportunity for change and create a new workplace that is not only pandemic ready, but also perfectly suited to maximise the productivity and wellbeing of your team.