Preparing Offices for the Return of Employees
As companies begin to strategize and implement plans for bringing employees back to the office, health and safety will be top proprieties. Many changes to the office environment will be behavioral, like social distancing, but there are a variety of physical modifications that can be made to help offices get ready to welcome employees back and meet the new demands of tomorrow’s workspace.
Leopardo began implementing a variety of these changes to both our offices in recent weeks and is now working with clients across several markets to do the same for them in a manner that is both efficient and cost-effective.
“We are working diligently to help clients implement measures that will meet the health and safety needs of employees,” said Senior Vice President Rick DuPraw. “Our three-tiered critical response list of services addresses the necessary interior modifications needed before, during and even after employees return to the office.”
The first tier of recommended modifications prepares a space before the reintegration of office staff, ensuring all individuals walk into an environment already equipped to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Basic physical modifications for the office include antimicrobial paint and finishes, hand sanitizer and UV phone sanitation devices, as well as hands-free operating systems for doors like sensors and foot-operated openers. Other measures include the installation of partitions between workstations and sneeze guards. Wayfinding techniques and floor markers will also assist in ensuring employees maintain a six-foot distance and adhere to office navigation routes that keep traffic flowing in a safe and orderly fashion.
“With an in-house and fully-staffed team of self-perform tradespeople ready to respond at a moment’s notice, our capability and capacity for this kind of response work is both strong and effective,” said Leopardo Senior Field Coordinator Andrew Rous. “Our team is well-equipped and expertly trained to tackle any kind of reconfiguration, no matter how complex.”
Modifications to public spaces comprise the second tier, with common areas like kitchens and cafeterias being broken up to discourage congregation and installing partitions and touchless revolving doors. Technology will also play a key role. Access control systems keep track of the movements of all building occupants, monitoring their travel for adherence to building guidelines and audiovisual systems to keep teams connected both inside and outside the office.
“We expect to see a shift from open-office floorplans to those with natural, physical barriers,” said Director of Business Development Will Sutila. “An influx in the desire for private offices will likely occur, as well, so that people can self-isolate at work.”
The final tier addresses additional measures to be taken as companies settle into their reconfigured way of working. Leopardo offers consultation for back-to-work phase planning, as well as changes that better align a space with the wellness standards put forth by healthy, high-performing building certifications like WELL, LivingBuilding Challenge and Fitwell.
“Tenants have a great opportunity to use this time of reconfiguring to promote more than just physical safety,” said Director of Sustainability Patty Lloyd. “The total wellbeing of every employee is of the upmost importance and this is a great time to make the work environment a place that both protects and promotes health and wellness.”