Changes to office design so we can get back to work

Mountain Dog Sign Company

The design team at Bernardo Wills Architects has been diligently researching ways to support our present and past clients as they welcome their staff and clients back into their doors. Michelle Widner, IIDA, interior designer at Bernardo Wills, has collected these practical (and affordable) steps businesses can take to provide a safe environment for their staff and customers. 
Increase the ability for handwashing and sanitation

  • Most businesses have few areas for employees and clients to wash their hands. The most cost-effective option to resolve this is by providing touch-free (preferable) hand sanitizer dispensers in high-touch areas such as near printers and in lobbies. 
  • Replace all pump soap dispensers with touchless dispensers.
  • Provide touch-free paper towel dispensers. 

Source: Gensler 
Limit or stop desk and tech sharing

  • If possible, provide designated workspaces for your staff and provide technology and accessories (mouse, keyboard, headset, etc.) for each individual to reduce the chance that a virus can spread via touch.

Source: Gensler 
Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing barriers

  • Provide your employees and clients with gloves, masks, disinfecting wipes, and hand sanitizer to reduce exposure. 
  • At transaction and reception counters, provide sneeze shields.
  • To help with queuing, provide social distancing signs or floor stickers to delineate personal boundaries and create physical space between customers.
  • Revise your cleaning policy
  • Implement cleaning protocols not only for workstations, but for conference rooms, break rooms, reception desks, and other common areas at regular intervals throughout the day. If needed, hire a professional.

Continue to practice social distancing

  • Unless people are wearing face masks, the six-foot social distancing rule should apply in the physical workspace until there is a COVID-19 vaccine and the coronavirus is no longer a health threat to employees. 
  • Remove excess chairs in conference rooms with more than 10 seats. 
  • Reduce the number of seating in waiting areas.
  • Spread out collaboration seating, so people are spaced further apart. 
  • Encourage people to collaborate virtually whenever possible.
  • De-densify workstations if possible. “In situations where existing desk spacing is less than 6 feet apart, consider using every other desk to create a buffer for each person. This could be achieved by assigning some people to work from home or temporarily locating them in other areas. It’s ideal to space employees so they don’t face each other. Consider adding partitions for sit/stand desks that are attached to the desktop and move up and down with the desktop. The goal is to block potentially harmful viruses that can be transmitted by talking, coughing, or sneezing. It’s also preferable to avoid situations where one employee is standing while another is seated within the same 6-foot bubble.”

Source: Gensler 
Got questions or concerns? Reach out to our office and we can set you up with a designer that can address your concerns.

Photo courtesy of Mountain Dog Sign Company

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