The COVID pandemic has altered all facets of life. It changed the way we socialize, pushing most of our interactions with friends and family into the virtual realm. It changed the way we entertain ourselves, with most recreational activities ideally done in the safety of our home. It changed the way we work, with a large chunk of the labor force doing their jobs remotely.
But, remote work, as a solution, does not apply to all. Some workers need to be at the office to efficiently deliver their responsibilities. For this reason, office managers should exhaust all means to safeguard these workers.
One way to do that is by reimagining the architectural details of a workspace. Here are some recommendations:
Custom office furniture
COVID-19’s surface survival depends on the material in question. For instance, cardboard surfaces allow the virus to live for up to a day. Meanwhile, stainless steel and plastic surfaces can host the virus for up to 72 hours. This is where custom office furniture comes in.
When we say custom office furniture, we do not just mean ergonomically designed pieces. There’s a pressing need for the employment of materials that are resistant to viruses and bacteria. One such material is copper. Within two hours, copper can kill 99.9 percent of bacteria.
The same goes for silver. It also has antimicrobial properties. But for these properties to be activated silver needs moisture.
Arguably, copper and silver are expensive materials that might not prove financially viable for businesses. One proposition to counter this limitation is via the usage of silver and copper alloys in strategic places. Take, for instance, those often touched surfaces like elevator buttons, doorknobs, and work desks.
Work desks with copper alloy surfaces might not be readily available in the market. Instead, you can have them custom-made. You can work with metal experts with laser cutting technology at their disposal. These businesses can produce metal-based furniture and construction pieces with your exact specifications.
Doors are breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria. That can be solved by automation, which eliminates the need for contact. Thankfully, this technology is relatively cheap and accessible.
You can go a step farther and have the entire office as contact-free as possible. For example, outfit your comfort rooms with toilets with auto-flash functions and faucets with heat sensors instead of handles or buttons.
Improved air quality
Keeping indoor air quality at its best remains crucial in fighting COVID-19. Here you need to look into your Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system. It should be properly maintained and consistently cleaned. ;
Consider using air humidifiers too. While it’s not yet proven if humidifiers can kill airborne viruses, they can alleviate symptoms of flu and other flu-like illnesses. ;
The food service industry requires employees to regularly wash their hands for food safety. Now that we’re living under a pandemic, we’ve all learned that such protocol should be employed in all work stations, regardless of the type of business.
Office managers should consider installing hygiene stations in strategic places beyond the washrooms and office pantry. Think wash basins complete with hand sanitizing solutions in every corner of the office.
Socially distanced work stations
It’s high time businesses invest in their offices in terms of area. Cramping employees in a limited space is a recipe for disaster. If you cannot afford to transplant your entire workforce from a small and uncomfortable office to a more work-conducive and safer environment, at the very least revisit your floor plan.
Work with an architect to pinpoint ways to maximize your available space without endangering the health of your employees. There must be a way to socially-distance your staff without needing to rent the office next to yours which will add to your overhead operational cost. If that’s not possible, consider sending some of your staff home for remote work.
Precautionary measures geared at protecting the health of employees should not end once the pandemic is officially declared over. Now that we know the threats of a viral outbreak, all business stakeholders should be wary of similar situations happening in the future. That means all the best practices we have come up with during this pandemic should still be strictly implemented post-pandemic. ;
Taking these safety measures a step farther can do nothing but good, even after we’re done with COVID-19. Workspace safety innovations should continue to be of priority to office managers the world over. Experts should continue to study the subject to pinpoint safety solutions that are both practical and foolproof. It’s better to be proactive. Ideally, you do not cram a war plan in the middle of a battleground.