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After over a year of restrictions, lockdowns and everything in between, it seems like we may be striding towards some form of normality.
This means that the usual aspects of life that we have not had for months are gradually going to make their way back into our lives. These include services such as barbers, swimming pools and gyms, and also a return to office life.
After all of this time working from home with Zoom calls and Microsoft Teams meetings, we will soon be back in an office environment. Reorganising office space is going to become an issue faced by employers across the country, and Office Supermarket are here to help. We have put together a few different ways that you can make the most of your office environment, whilst keeping your staff safe.
Before completely reorganising office space, one of the most important things to tick off your office COVID 19 strategy is an effective cleaning plan. COVID 19 can last on surfaces for hours and in some cases days and can be picked up from surfaces to cause transmission, but, with regular cleaning and an effective plan it is easy to keep your employees safe.
Cleaning should begin with hand washing and hand sanitising. Ensuring that your office has the correct facilities available to a workforce is incredibly important as one of the most common forms of transmission is via transferring the virus from hands to surfaces.
The HSE recommend that cleaning in the workplace is conducted regularly. You should make a plan that splits your office into areas, and they should be cleaned in an order that can be ticked off as you go. This ensures you reach every area. Special attention should be given to areas that see a lot of footfall and hand contact such as door handles and computer equipment such as computer mice and keyboards.
It is also recommended that you should separate your workforce evenly to reduce the need of cleaning. If you designate an area tucked away as a neutral area then you will not need to clean it as often, this can also be achieved by limiting peoples movements which can also reduce the amount of surfaces that people can come into contact with.
As many people are aware of already, social distancing is key to preventing the coronavirus from spreading from person to person. The NHS recommend that you should always try to stay at least two metres away from people that are not in your support bubble.
In the office maintaining social distancing is also going to be imperative. This can be achieved successfully without creating an unproductive environment. One of the best ways of reorganising office space to achieve an ideal social distance is through creating a new desk layout.
At Office Supermarket we provide a range of office desks that are perfect for social distancing layouts. Depending on the office space that you have available to you and the amount of employees you have, you should aim to keep your desks at least two metres, or three average steps, away from each other.
The best way to visualise this is by picturing a two-metre circular area drawn around the user at the desk. Desks can also be placed opposite each other depending on depth, and should be fine as long as they adhere to the two-metre rule. For example, two desks that have a 1200mm depth pushed together would create a distance between users of 2.4 metres. A popular example of a desk at this depth is our next day delivery corner desk, which when combined would create a perfect socially distanced working area.
In some cases social distancing may not be completely attainable due to limitations of overall office space. However, this does not mean that you can not go back to working in an office environment. Reorganising office space when the actual space is an issue does not have to be impossible, and at Office Supermarket we have solutions in the form of our range of screens.
Creating a physical partition between employees can be an effective way of preventing the spread of the virus. We provide screens that can be attached to desks as well as free standing options. In cases where desks need to be close together, our desktop screens are ideal, and thanks to designs such as our clear acrylic screen they do not have to create an isolated space, allowing you to see through the screen and still communicate with colleagues.
If you are needing to create an isolated space in your office then our range of freestanding screens can be perfect. This can be a way of adhering to social distancing by ensuring that employees have their own protected space. We also offer the option of antimicrobial screens. Antimicrobial screens are desktop mounted screens used to partition employees and have been upholstered in Camira Intervene Fabric which is permanently antimicrobial, water and flame repellent and stain resistant.
As previously mentioned, removing points of contact from hands is key to stopping the spread of the virus. Reorganising office space does not just need to involve physically moving desks and introducing partitions, the way in which you store things in your office can have a great impact as well.
One of the most commonly touched areas in an office are handles of cabinets and drawers used for storage. One way to completely eliminate this is by introducing contact free storage solutions in the form of office bookcases. Bookcases do not have doors attached and can provide the same effective storage space as a cupboard or drawer.
Having a bookcase means that rather than having to open a door to access important books or documents you can just reach in and grab what you need. Of course, regular cleaning is still necessary for bookcases and it is important that any shared documents being stored are also sanitised. If you do not have the capabilities to replace your current storage then it is incredibly important that your current storage systems are cleaned regularly to prevent surface contamination.
Combatting the virus is incredibly important if we wish for life to go back to normal and starting in the office is a good way to begin. The methods of reorganising office space that we have outlined should lead to effective and safe protection for both you and your workforce, from cleaning to social distancing and reducing contact points.