What is a COVID secure office?
An interesting time for innovation? Or just the acceleration of creating better working environments?
As we prepare (eagerly want) to return to our offices, industries of all natures are trying to quickly innovate products and solutions. Some of which are really mind-boggling.
I have to commend the businesses in one respect, that they won’t be defeated and are doing something! But I do wonder if anyone really asked if you would enjoy eating inside a shower curtain? Or shouting at each other through plastic screens? and then actually just leaning around them or over them.
Equally, in the office furniture world – the demand for perspex screens to divide up working spaces certainly skyrocketed for a period similar to that time when toilet rolls were unobtainable for 2 or 3 weeks. However, in our workplace design industry, plastic goes against all our sustainability and environmentally friendly credentials, and that in turn has seen the creation of recyclable cardboard ‘temporary’ products. That sadly.. is still not really that inviting.
It’s all well and good me being a keyboard warrior typing my disgust for perspex divides in the workplaces.. But what’s the alternative I hear you cry!
What is the covid secure answer?
Well, no one is really an expert in this field right now? the field of designing a COVID SAFE office that is. However in the professional industry of workplace design, we do have the knowledge of creating remote working environments, creating environments for human well-being, and how biophilic design; good airflow, light, plants and open spaces make people feel good and create a ‘Safe space’. As for those office spaces being crammed to the eyeballs with humans and a sea of desks – well we’ve collectively been trying to throw that design out for years! There is prevalent research that shows having a great company culture and a workplace environment to match helps with employee retention and so on. And that’s why we need to look past the quick fixes (Such as Perspex divides) and look at how our workplaces will need to adapt for a better work-life and future balance.
Right now, we need to build confidence for employees and employers alike within their workplaces. Giving them the FREEDOM to CHOOSE to come to the office and engage, and WANT to meet with colleagues and so forth. Building this confidence can be achieved in a number of ways that aren’t necessarily asking your teams to work within shower curtains or coming back to your old desk that now resembles a fish tank. That said in some instances these solutions (to a small extent) might be suitable.
Love Where you Work Starts with YOU.
Author: Natalie Rice, Creative Director