The state government is continuing to encourage Victorians to work from home to help limit the spread of Coronavirus. While this isn’t a mandatory requirement, many people are embracing the opportunity to work from home if they aren’t obliged to return to the office just yet.
But what happens when people are invited back to their offices?
Offices as we once knew them will now need to accommodate the recommended workplace health and safety guidelines in the wake of COVID-19.
To help you start planning for the return of your employees, here are some of the changes we can expect to see across office spaces and what you can do to help keep your workers safe:
1. Socially Distant Workstations
Planning your office seating chart is essential for maintaining physical social distancing in the workplace. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, social distancing is necessary because the most likely way people can catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets from another person in the event of sneezing, coughing, or simply exhaling.
To assist with maintaining a healthy workplace, all workstations should be moved further apart to comply with social distancing. As a general rule, stick to 4 square metres of space per person. To determine this in your own workplace:
- Calculate the area of the room (e.g. the length of the room in metres x width of room in metres = area of the room in square metres)
- Divide the area of the room by 4.
For more details, see the physical distancing guidelines from Safe Work Australia.
2. Partitions & Screens
Retrofitting offices to accommodate new health guidelines will likely be inevitable for most workplaces. In some cases, offices may need to install more storage systems to create room for socially distant friendly workstations. Alongside new layouts, adding other elements such as mobile screens and partitions will be necessary.
Formerly, partitions were used to create more private workspaces, allowing people to concentrate on their tasks without disruptions from others nearby. But now screens and partitions can further help offices by acting as ‘sneeze guards,’ between other people. There are various types available including clamp on desk screens which can attach to existing desks or mobile partitions that provide larger coverage as well as flexibility.
3. Hand Sanitising Stations
An integral part of keeping employees safe at work will revolve around hand sanitising stations, and the regimented use of them. Anything from opening and closing doors, touching printer buttons or sharing a pen can contribute to spreading harmful bacteria around offices. The best way to remind employees to use hand sanitiser is by making it readily accessible and always within sight.
Placement of hand sanitiser stations is also key for preventing germs from circulating. Try to install hand sanitiser stations at every entry and exit point around the workplace as well as having them available in bathrooms, meeting rooms, at employee desks and any other high traffic areas.
4. Video Conferencing Rooms
With more people working from home and meetings with clients taking place on virtual platforms, it’s essential to have private spaces specifically designed for video conferencing. Offices can wave goodbye to open space work areas as the need for secluded areas for the purpose of private video calls is paramount. Some ways to add enhance privacy include incorporating partitions, garden walls or slat walls into an office space to divide up certain areas.
If your business currently has budget restraints, existing board rooms or meeting rooms can double as video conferencing rooms for all employees who can book a time slot via a scheduling system.
5. Adaptable Furniture
Living in the age of a pandemic has made many people realise just how quickly things can change in an instant. While workplaces begin to adapt to a new ‘normal,’ it’s important to remember that several aspects will continue to shift alongside government regulations and health and safety guidelines.
So, if you’re changing your current workplace, it’s wise to invest in adaptable furniture which can adjust with your office layout across a range of circumstances for years to come. This will grant your business with better flexibility for future planning and the ability to change when necessary.
Here at All Storage Systems, we’re committed to helping you create a better workplace and respond to any business challenges and opportunities COVID-19 may bring.
If you require significant changes to your office layout as a result of COVID-19 call us on 1800 772 726 for a free consultation and assessment of your workplace. We guarantee that we’ll be able to offer some great ideas and solutions to help you cope with the current market situation.