This has been a year for, among other things, innovation among business owners. Gloria Chien is one such innovating owner in the Pacific Northwest. During a normal year her firm, VIS Designs, stays busy designing and renovating spaces for companies and individuals. However, 2020 is not a normal year and companies hoping to welcome employees back into their offices during a pandemic face very specific requirements for how their office is laid out.
Gloria recently walked through an example of how to redesign an office in order to resume business onsite and still keep employees at least six feet apart throughout the workday. In this video, she spells out exactly what she changed in a recent office redesign that allowed the company to follow guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19 while working under one roof.
The Socially Distanced Office
This office has many of the typical features you would expect: a receptionist's desk, a waiting area for several people, a conference room, meeting room, four offices, four workstations, a printing area and a kitchenette with a table and chairs. To create an environment that helps prevent the spread of COVID-19, Gloria made several key changes to allow for social distancing.
She started with the entrance by installing a hand sanitizer station with signs reminding people to wear their masks and practice social distancing. She also added a glass divider to stand between the receptionist and guests.
In the waiting area, she removed all but two chairs to allow more space between people. She reupholstered the remaining chairs with fabrics that can stand up under regular cleaning with CDC-approved cleaners.
In the conference room, Gloria installed touchless technology the company can use for video conferencing as well as presentations. Then she replaced what used to be a solid wall with a sliding glass door. This allows employees to take advantage of the space outside the conference room so they can participate in meetings and presentations while maintaining six feet of distance from all colleagues.
The workstations presented a challenge, because they didn't allow for enough distance between employees. Gloria solved this by moving the walls of some of the offices, which created space between them. She then moved two workspaces into these newly created spaces and converted a meeting room to an individual office. This gave every employee their own separate space, sufficiently distanced from each other.
Finally, Gloria removed the table and chairs from the kitchenette to prevent people from congrating.
Viola! A happy, healthy work environment.