We find ourselves in a strange situation which is changing everything, our daily life, our habits, and inevitably, our ways of working. Although most people are working from home where possible, more and more companies are preparing for their employees to return to the office.
Social distancing rules are there to protect us all. But they pose real issues when considering reopening and keeping everyone safe.
Every company wants to create an environment that’s safe for their employees, so how do you create an office environment where employees will feel safe and healthy when they return?
Risk assessing your workplace
The HSE’s Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak underlines the need for risk assessment as the basis for any return to work strategy. Employers are instructed that they must act to remove activities or situations that might cause virus transmission, or if this is not possible, control the risk.
- Consider whether jobs or tasks can be changed to reduce risk
- Identify everyone who can work at home – if they can they should
- Identify where people can travel safely to and from work while maintaining social distancing
- Stagger arrival and departure times at work
- Consider how people move through work environments and reduce the number of people in high traffic areas
- Consider how common areas can be reconfigured to allow two-metre distancing
- Provide employees with information and guidance on safe working arrangements, have conversations with staff, and act on concerns.
Following your workplace risk assessment, re-configuring your existing workspace could be one of the easiest options without incurring additional cost.
Consider the overall “flow” of a space. People like to move around fluidly; they don’t just stay at individual workstations. Redesigning how people flow throughout a space can assess social distance needed between people and the amount of time they spend in certain places, highlighting the main areas to focus on to improve overall safety. Think adaptability instead of permanent, fluid instead of fixed when re-configuring your existing workspace.
In our Changing Workplaces guide, we explore re-configured spaces showing before and after settings having implemented social distancing guidelines. We offer new perspectives on Frövi product design that can provide mobility in the workplace, allowing for our products to be moved into new settings.
By making basic adjustments to the spacing, orientation, boundaries, and flexibility of your workspace you can encourage people to maintain an appropriate physical distance from one another.
Looking for solutions to office layout, existing Frövi furniture can be used to:
- Re-configure a space
- Go mobile
- Create solo working stations
- Easy clean surfaces
- Zoning – creating more private spaces