WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY

In the face of uncertainty—economic crises, terrorist attacks, global pandemics—there is a tendency to indulge in catastrophic thinking. we pull back, anxious to know if this event will alter fundamental beliefs and normative behaviors. what is at risk when markets are volatile? how will storms and forest fires change our lives? after the hijackings of commercial flights, we now endure long lines at airport checkpoints as our baggage is screened and shoes removed. yet, we continue to travel freely as safety protocols are put in place. and one day, we will go back to the office.

MOVING FORWARD

While a global pandemic has, for the moment, upended our personal and professional lives, the fundamentals of work are unlikely to change. On the other side of this disruptive event, we will still need to focus and collaborate, to mentor and to learn. We will look forward to sharing coffee and ideas with colleagues and clients. In fact, we may more fully appreciate our life as social beings, the pleasure of gathering for an office happy hour or meeting up with co-workers at the local pub after hours. we might even enjoy a deadline-driven brainstorming session. as human beings, we gravitate towards others and certainly, we communicate best face to face, where we can read physical cues, gauge reactions, and adjust accordingly. this is why people still go to the office. most of us have gained flexibility in when and where we work. we’ve learned to make the most of digital tools to perform the basics of work and can be productive almost anywhere. now, after weeks or months sequestered in our homes, we may see a shift in time spent at the office and working remotely in a coffee shop or in our own dining room.

CHANGES IN WORK ENVIRONMENTS

  • Products which create division and social distancing
  • Quick-ship and easy assembly home office packages
  • Materials - easy to clean, bleach cleanable, non-porous hard surfaces, anti-bacterial and antimicrobial
  • Anti-bacterial technology integrated into products and materials - Silver Ion, UV/Blue Light, Nanotechnology, Copper Infused
  • Agile furniture for flexibility in the open plan and in conference and meeting room
  • Leasing vs buying furniture
  • Hands-free adjustment features
  • Benching workstations with interconnected working arrangements
  • Open workstations with no screens or dividers
  • High density meeting rooms and spaces
  • Soft and porous materials
  • Products with a lot of seams or metal folds
  • High contact unassigned spaces
  • Shared storage and unassigned lockers
  • Personal belongings and bags set on the floor
  • Products which create division and social distancing
  • Quick-ship and easy assembly home office packages
  • Materials - easy to clean, bleach cleanable, non-porous hard surfaces, anti-bacterial and antimicrobial
  • Anti-bacterial technology integrated into products and materials - Silver Ion, UV/Blue Light, Nanotechnology, Copper Infused
  • Agile furniture for flexibility in the open plan and in conference and meeting room
  • Leasing vs buying furniture
  • Hands-free adjustment features
  • Benching workstations with interconnected working arrangements
  • Open workstations with no screens or dividers
  • High density meeting rooms and spaces
  • Soft and porous materials
  • Products with a lot of seams or metal folds
  • High contact unassigned spaces
  • Shared storage and unassigned lockers
  • Personal belongings and bags set on the floor

COMFORT

how can people feel comfortable, calm, and empowered given somewhat traumatic circumstances? how can staff be assured that proper cleaning protocols are followed? have materials been supplied that allow staff to clean actively throughout the day? are tools and procedures implemented to control proximity to others, the density of people in the office, and the number of visitors admitted?

WELL BEING

the emotional status of employees is very important as people return from weeks of isolation in the home. while cleanability and space division are imperative, we do not want to create a sterile look and feel, but rather use color, texture and finishes to create comfort and warmth. as always, natural light and fresh air are essential to wellbeing and must be maintained or improved as workstation heights are raised.

ENCLOSURES

enclosures afford a degree of privacy, and perhaps more importantly protection and safety in the face of a pandemic. adding panels and screens in both opaque and transparent materials allows for varying degrees of openness and protection. higher panels and screens between users and at the ends of workstations, along with overhead storage, further divide space.

SPACING

science offers evidence that social distancing is key to preventing viral spread. equally, distancing offers a sense of control and personal protection from an invisible hazard. in terms of planning, workstations can be reoriented. when developing a new floorplan, ideal corridor widths and the direction of traffic must be considered.

MATERIALS

proper material selection is essential. while materials can add beauty and comfort to the environment, porous materials and noncleanable textiles may be replaced with smooth, impermeable surfaces and bleach cleanable fabrics. The goal remains to create warm, inspiring workplaces, but performance and cleanability must now take some precedence over pure aesthetics.

COMFORT

how can people feel comfortable, calm, and empowered given somewhat traumatic circumstances? how can staff be assured that proper cleaning protocols are followed? have materials been supplied that allow staff to clean actively throughout the day? are tools and procedures implemented to control proximity to others, the density of people in the office, and the number of visitors admitted?

ENCLOSURES

enclosures afford a degree of privacy, and perhaps more importantly protection and safety in the face of a pandemic. adding panels and screens in both opaque and transparent materials allows for varying degrees of openness and protection. higher panels and screens between users and at the ends of workstations, along with overhead storage, further divide space.

SPACING

science offers evidence that social distancing is key to preventing viral spread. equally, distancing offers a sense of control and personal protection from an invisible hazard. in terms of planning, workstations can be reoriented. when developing a new floorplan, ideal corridor widths and the direction of traffic must be considered.

MATERIALS

proper material selection is essential. while materials can add beauty and comfort to the environment, porous materials and noncleanable textiles may be replaced with smooth, impermeable surfaces and bleach cleanable fabrics. The goal remains to create warm, inspiring workplaces, but performance and cleanability must now take some precedence over pure aesthetics.

WELL BEING

the emotional status of employees is very important as people return from weeks of isolation in the home. while cleanability and space division are imperative, we do not want to create a sterile look and feel, but rather use color, texture and finishes to create comfort and warmth. as always, natural light and fresh air are essential to wellbeing and must be maintained or improved as workstation heights are raised.

COMFORT

how can people feel comfortable, calm, and empowered given somewhat traumatic circumstances? how can staff be assured that proper cleaning protocols are followed? have materials been supplied that allow staff to clean actively throughout the day? are tools and procedures implemented to control proximity to others, the density of people in the office, and the number of visitors admitted?

ENCLOSURES

enclosures afford a degree of privacy, and perhaps more importantly protection and safety in the face of a pandemic. adding panels and screens in both opaque and transparent materials allows for varying degrees of openness and protection. higher panels and screens between users and at the ends of workstations, along with overhead storage, further divide space.

SPACING

science offers evidence that social distancing is key to preventing viral spread. equally, distancing offers a sense of control and personal protection from an invisible hazard. in terms of planning, workstations can be reoriented. when developing a new floorplan, ideal corridor widths and the direction of traffic must be considered.

MATERIALS

proper material selection is essential. while materials can add beauty and comfort to the environment, porous materials and noncleanable textiles may be replaced with smooth, impermeable surfaces and bleach cleanable fabrics. The goal remains to create warm, inspiring workplaces, but performance and cleanability must now take some precedence over pure aesthetics.

WELL BEING

the emotional status of employees is very important as people return from weeks of isolation in the home. while cleanability and space division are imperative, we do not want to create a sterile look and feel, but rather use color, texture and finishes to create comfort and warmth. as always, natural light and fresh air are essential to wellbeing and must be maintained or improved as workstation heights are raised.

UNDERSTANDING INTERACTION

What we find from the above snippet of typical office movement is that most of the circles are red most of the time. They are red in the desk spaces, meeting rooms, corridors, and hotspots like the entrance and café areas.This shows that the current workplace model is not conducive to social distancing. In the interim period  one could achieve social distancing by phased return, occupying fewer desks within the same office, with robust communication on maintaining social distancing and sanitation. However, to achieve a resilient and responsive workplace in the longer term, organisations we need to rethink the design of the workplace entirely.

As people, systems and organisations get accustomed to remote working it is likely that 100% office-based working will be a thing of the past. How will organisations respond? Will many of our workplaces extend beyond the physical world and into the virtual? Would we still layout the office in a conventional manner? Would hot desks become the norm and fixed desks disappear completely? Would the purpose of the physical workplace be solely for meetings and interactions? From internal air quality to measuring the power of our virtual connectivity, in the coming weeks we will explore how we can and need to use data, science and evidence to design better workplaces for all.In the interim we need to think immediately about how we can use our existing workplaces effectively and safely as the workforce returns to work. We used our predictive modelling engine to scenario plan how an office at 20%, 40%, 60% and 80% occupancy may be able to deal with social distancing.The results show that beyond 40% a occupancy rate revisions to desk layout and high footfall areas will be needed to enable effective social distancing in the workplace.

Article Source and More Information

WORKSPACE PLANNING

01

providing a variety of spaces forvideoconferencing promotes virtualmeetings and a reduced number ofoccupants in traditional meeting rooms

02

reduce guest seating in private officesand orient to provide distance

03

increasing the height of panels and screens around workstations provides the user protection and a sense of comfort. a variety of workspace types allows the user to choose their desired level of privacy

04

plan workstations back to back tovincrease the distance between users

05

reduce the occupancy of café areas, mixsingle user tables, rectangular tables fortwo, and community tables with seatsspaced at safe distances

06

surround open areas with screens toprovide protection and add color andtexture to a space

07

sanitation stations can be placedthroughout a space for easy access tocleaning supplies

08

lounge areas should include singleseats or sofas and benches with tablesbetween to ensure proper distancing

01

providing a variety of spaces forvideoconferencing promotes virtualmeetings and a reduced number ofoccupants in traditional meeting rooms

02

reduce guest seating in private officesand orient to provide distance

03

increasing the height of panels and screens around workstations provides the user protection and a sense of comfort. a variety of workspace types allows the user to choose their desired level of privacy

04

plan workstations back to back tovincrease the distance between users

05

reduce the occupancy of café areas, mixsingle user tables, rectangular tables fortwo, and community tables with seatsspaced at safe distances

06

surround open areas with screens toprovide protection and add color andtexture to a space

07

sanitation stations can be placedthroughout a space for easy access tocleaning supplies

08

lounge areas should include singleseats or sofas and benches with tablesbetween to ensure proper distancing

EXTERUS SCREEN PRODUCTS

COUNTER SHIELD SOLUTIONS

Provide your employees and customers with a protective barrier to help prevent the spread of germs. These screens are designed to integrate into reception, open plan offices and point of sale areas. Made from clear acrylic, these screens are easy to wipe clean and sanitize to help maintain a healthy environment. Several mounting options allow the screens to be easily secured and removed without damaging the existing furniture or used as a permanent fixture.

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EXTERUS SCREEN MANUFACTURING PARTNERS

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