Our recent customer survey confirmed the importance of ‘Covid-19 safer working environments’ being part of any interior designers remit going forward. We have therefore listed a few suggestions based on current thinking of how interior design helps safer working practices.
1. Opt for a minimalist look
Once a workplace re-opens, it will be essential in order to keep employees safe and comfortable, that a high hygiene standard is maintained at all times. For this reason, decorative items and personal belongings may need to be kept to a minimum. The fewer items and surfaces there are in an office, the easier and quicker it will be to keep clean.
In fact ease of cleaning could well become a selling point that dictates shape and form of office furniture going forward.
And what about the size of desks? According to Kaicker, who heads analytics and insights at Zaha Hadid Architects: “Office desks have shrunk over the years, from 1.8m to 1.6m to now 1.4m and less, but I think we’ll see a reversal of that, as people won’t want to sit so close together.” Kaicker even imagines legislation might be introduced to mandate a minimum area per person in offices, as well as a reduction in maximum occupancy for lifts and larger lobbies to minimise overcrowding.
More interesting insights to how previous pandemics have changed our cities and workplace design can be seen in this fascinating article we found.
2. Make space a priority
Already touched on above – to ensure employees feel safe and relaxed in a workplace, there will be a need to try to make an office look as spacious as possible. Even placing rarely used seating and tables into storage will help. An employer may also wish to consider multifunctional furniture, e.g. a bench that turns into a table, so the furniture in the office can be kept to a minimum but the office does not lose any of its functionality.
3. Introduce more wash facilities
In the short term, it is likely as part of their Covid-19 Risk Assessment Plan employers will place hand sanitiser, anti-bacterial spray and cleaning products around the office and create clean sanitation stations. In the longer term, they may wish to consider having more sinks installed around the office to ensure employees do not have far to travel to wash their hands.
4. Flooring considerations
Creating a one-way system around the office using arrows or adding 2m distancing signs to the floor design is one measure. This is addressed with our CREATE SD range or on hard flooring services we recommend our Social Distancing Floor Mats.
Our survey highlighted that many of customers believe that there will be an increase in the demand for antibacterial safety flooring and LVT in the offices of the future. Where carpet tiles continue to be used it is also likely that considerations will be given to how they in themselves can be used as way finders throughout a building and how ideal they are for zoning and 2m spacing in themselves – with clever use of colour and design.
If we can help in any way with your new design challenges, we are here to be of service – just call 01592 630030.