As we start to enter the new normal, many small businesses will begin to reopen their office spaces. It’s time for small businesses to rethink their current office setup and how to transform the space to help protect employees and create a safer environment. At first, the thought of reopening the office might seem daunting and overwhelming as transforming the office will present many challenges. Here are some ideas to help you get your office transformation started:
Reinvent the Common Workspace...the Office Cube
In most office environments, employees are typically assigned a dedicated cube/desk space. Many employees prefer to decorate their assigned space with pictures of friends and family, achievements or their favorite artwork. It’s a space where they want to feel comfortable since they call the office home for 8+ hours a day. Within the new normal, these dedicated spaces might be a thing of the past, as least for now! Where possible, employees should be given the option to work from home, and if they desire to go into the office it should be on a rotating schedule. The new occupancy requirements and less people coming to the office increases the available space. It’s an opportunity to create a more flexible layout where desks/cube spaces are at least six feet apart. It would be best to remove all personal items from the desk/workspace to make it easier to sanitize each night. This might upset some employees as the office might seem less dull or boring. Think about adding new artwork to the walls and ensure there is plenty of sunlight. Sunlight improves happiness!
The Covid-19 virus can easily spread on surfaces so small businesses are thinking of investing in new technology to keep their employees safe. One of the top tools they are investing in are contactless devices to help their employees avoid having to touch any surfaces (especially doorknobs). Automatic doors will become the norm for all doors, not just entry/exit. Employees will have their own unique key card that will unlock and open the door. Other high-touch areas within the office that will need a technology upgrade are the breakroom and bathrooms. It’s time to update the old water cooler with an automatic water dispenser. Bathroom stalls will have to be automated along with automatic sinks and soaps dispensers.
Social Distancing Floor Decals/Protective Barriers
The days of someone stopping by and hovering over your desk asking where that report is are long over. Instead they will be pinging you through the Microsoft® Teams chat. The personal space bubble will be strictly enforced in the new work setting. Like many grocery and retail stores, small businesses will be adapting the one-way and six-feet apart floor decals to help inform employees how far apart they are from one another. In addition, the plastic protective barriers will be added to workspaces to further protect employees from each other. The social work environment of the office will forever be changed.
The office environment will be very different upon return. We can only hope for the day that Friday Happy Hours are back!