Office Design in a Post COVID-19 World
Social distancing measures are already having a tremendous impact on the world of architecture and design. New mandates in regards to health and safety are bringing changes to the way we think about interiors. Many companies have made the shift to an open office concept over the past decade or so, reducing the number of private desks in favor of more communal spaces. How can we retrofit these existing designs to meet the new health and safety requirements while still maintaining the integrity of the overall design? We have some tips that can help.
Reimagine your space with health-conscious hardware additions.
Instead of completely redesigning your space, you can easily retrofit existing furniture with protective barriers, especially where a 6 foot distance is difficult to maintain. Not only good for protection against the spreading of germs, acoustic panels are also great for muting unwanted noise and chatter. Whether opting for a modish panel screen or keeping it simple with a clear alternative, make a statement with attractive brackets that complement your contemporary design. We recommend finding the right size and style panel for the space and then selecting panel brackets accordingly based on thickness and height.
Another easy way to meet new guidelines is to incorporate hardware that promotes a ‘no-touch’ operation. Door handles, drawer pulls, and cabinet handles are some of the biggest offenders when considering the amount of shared contact and contamination, so alternative solutions that allow for hands-free operation will help to prevent the spread of germs and other microbes. Adding an arm cuff to door handles or a foot pull to lower cabinets are some ways to satisfy the need for less physical contact.
Antimicrobial Finishes kill germs on contact
Want to continue using the stylish hardware you love without promoting the spread of germs? Using hardware with an Antimicrobial finish will keep the environment as hygienic and sterile as possible. Antimicrobial finishes help surfaces to kill germs on contact in instances where alternative solutions are unavailable and shared touching is simply unavoidable.
It seems as though we just recently tore down those cubicle walls in favor of an open concept plan that not only promotes collaboration amongst team members but also gives the office a more modern and welcoming feel. It’d be a shame to suddenly go back to the stuffy high cubicle walls that inhibit collaborative work spaces. Remember those cube farms? Remember we used to call it “prairie dogging” when people would pop their head up from their cubicle to see what was amiss after a loud noise? Are we really ready to go back to that? There has to be a happy compromise.
Although our new normal is challenging design style in favor of safety, it doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to shared spaces for good. Creating a happy medium between the two designs with reasonable accommodations for privacy and sterility will likely be the new trend in office design. Open offices with privacy panels in place, workstations spaced at a reasonable distance apart and hygienic office hardware will satisfy social constructs without compromising the overall design.