The way we work is changing on a nearly daily basis, and office spaces must quickly adapt to meet those changes. Not only do employees want to feel safe and secure at work, but they also want a unique workspace where they can imagine themselves as part of something bigger. Clients, meanwhile, want to see an office that truly reflects who you are as a company and helps them feel valued. After all, if your office tends to seem drab and behind the times, does that mean your company is too?
If it’s been a while since you evaluated your workspace, there’s never been a better time than the present. What factors should you consider when transforming your workplace into a safer, more engaging environment?
Points to Consider
Employees and clients alike want to know that you’re considering their health and safety in designing (or redesigning) the workspace. Though the working world may never go back to “business as usual,” employers can still use space design to regain a sense of normalcy and ensure that crucial tasks get done, all while keeping employees and customers protected.
Following CDC Guidelines
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and recommend actions employers and businesses can take to protect the public from further disease spread. These recommendations and guidelines include:
- Guidance for conducting daily health checks and a hazard assessment of the workplace
- Policies and practices that employers can implement to maintain social distancing in the workplace
- Improvements to building ventilation systems
- Detailed outlines of the engineering and administrative controls and personal protective equipment (PPE) employers can use to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace
Though all workplaces have different needs, there are a few items of PPE all employers should consider incorporating into their office environment.
Bannitizer Hand Sanitizing Stations
These portable hand sanitizer dispensers allow for the display of bold signage directing employees, patrons, and guests to a dedicated sanitizing station. The portability and durability of a Bannitizer station allow for its placement in entryways, hallways, common areas, employee break rooms, and even outside the restroom. For businesses that are open to the general public, having a Bannitizer (or several) on hand can provide reassurance to employees while showcasing to customers your commitment to health and safety protocols.
Many grocery stores, independent shops, and public-facing offices have already begun to incorporate sneeze guards—or large, clear, acrylic dividers—into their businesses. These sneeze guards are an ideal way to provide some additional protection for those who must interact with members of the public. Because current research indicates that the virus that causes COVID-19 is primarily spread through airborne droplets, minimizing face-to-face contact (while still being able to see and hear each other face to face) can be a prudent move. Combining sneeze guards with face masks can further reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.
Signage with Instructions
Even with COVID-19 news filling the airwaves, employees and members of the public can benefit from strategically-placed signage with instructions on avoiding virus spread. These include handwashing signs, sanitizer signs and instructions, and unobtrusive social-distancing marks placed at least six feet apart. The CDC offers online decision tools and toolkits for employers looking to make their workspaces as safe as possible. (It’s important to keep in mind that CDC guidance continues to evolve; as you’re redesigning your workplace, check back regularly to see whether protocols have recently been revised or expanded.)
Build Your Space Strategically
When making major workspace changes, businesses can be strategic in building out their spaces by answering questions about their brand and ensuring that all changes made are consistent with their mission and message. Some of the most important questions to ponder include:
- What’s your company’s mission? Is it codified in a mission statement, or somewhere else?
- What are your core values? How do they further your mission?
- What would you like your employees to tell their friends and family members about working here?
- What would you like your clients to say when they leave your facility?
- In just a sentence, how do you envision your brand being spoken about?
These questions can begin to help you conceptualize the impression you’d like your space to leave. For instance, if your company motto or mission is focused on customer service, your workspace should also be a welcoming, friendly place where customers can feel relaxed and at home. An environment that feels too cookie-cutter or sterile could inadvertently undercut your stated mission. Meanwhile, if you’re hoping to boost your employee retention rates, it’s important to think about ways the workspace could be modified to make your employees’ jobs easier or more fulfilling.
With so many workspaces changing their operations in response to COVID-19, there’s never been a better time to think outside the box when it comes to space design. (And if you follow the lead of many businesses by ultimately deciding to move some employees to permanent telework, this could further allow you to reconfigure your current space.)
Once you’ve thought about these questions, it’s time to drill down into some more actionable steps.
- How do you want your employees to engage with each other?
- How do you want to engage your clients?
If your employees spend most of their time collaborating rather than working independently, it’s important to have a workspace that helps maintain this sense of unity—even in the era of COVID-19. And if it’s still important for you to have a physical workspace for client meetings and pitches, you’ll need to ensure that this space demonstrates a commitment to your company’s mission and values while still incorporating recommended safety measures.
Imagine your dream client walks in for a big meeting. How do you picture the process unfolding? Will the client be greeted and quickly escorted to the conference room, or will they remain in the waiting room until you’re ready for them? When they look around your office, will they see drab chairs and carpet or unique decor and signage that communicates your company’s goals? By picturing your business through your employees’ and clients’ eyes, you’ll be able to get a better sense of the changes you need to make, as well as what doesn’t need to be changed.
Nimlok NYC’s team can help you create the workspace of your dreams.
As a premier global solutions provider for the trade show industry, Nimlok NYC has extensive experience in strategizing and developing functional, logical, and aesthetically-pleasing workspaces for a wide variety of clients. We are committed to partnering with clients to craft exceptional experiences and can provide workspaces with innovative products that incorporate safety and functionality. Whether you need a supply of acrylic sneeze guards, a Bannitizer (or two), or an entire office redesign, let Nimlok NYC’s experienced consultants help. We’ll work with you to design your dream office from concept to creation, taking care of any issues that arise along the way.
Visit our website today or reach out to one of our consultants to learn more about the services and support we provide.