Back to Work Considerations

Workplace Considerations

Meadows Office Interiors has been listening intently to strategists and industry experts as they consider what life and work will look like following this global health crisis. These key areas of change are what many companies will likely consider as we return to the “new normal.”

Return To Work Checklist

Corporate Culture

  • Stagger employee attendance as they return to the workplace
  • Implement virtual co-working / telecommuting technologies
  • Create a safe back-to-work environment

Contactless Solutions

  • Keyless building access
  • Desk booking capabilities
  • Remote entry lockers
  • Assigned workplace desk accessories and technology

Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment

  • Self-Cleaning equipment
  • Consider anti-microbial surfaces & easy-to-clean surfaces 8 Add Freestanding or mobile space dividing elements 8 Reduce density of seating in conference rooms/huddle rooms
  • Un-densify benching by removing seats to allow for 6′ between employees

Health & Safety

  • Workplace health consulting
  • Increasing daily cleaning and sanitizing
  • Infection prevention stations
  • Ergonomic support to reinforce workplace health initiatives

Social Distancing Design

  • Expand office footprints to meet new standards
  • Reduce or eliminate small coworking spaces
  • Implement higher panels and partitions
  • Consider reconfiguration of overall office footprint including private offices 8 Reduce shared workspaces
  • Limit/redesigning social areas/cafes/breakrooms
  • Development of work from Home Furniture and Technology standards

FAQs From Our Clients

Q: What are Meadows customers discussing as they evaluate a path to return to work?

The common themes to our conversations are:

  • Space planning using existing FF&E.
  • Adding physical barriers
  • Reducing physical contact points
  • Managing and understanding space occupancy via technology
  • Cleaning Protocol – How do we ensure workspaces are clean?
  • Introduction of antimicrobial and antiviral surfaces and materials

Q: What are Meadows customers discussing as they evaluate a path to return to work?

For existing workstations, redesign of space, or new construction, we have the same recommendations.

While there is no real scientific data around how partitions significantly impact the transmission of illness, we feel it is a logical conclusion that adding screens and physical distance are at least part of the solution. Companies should evaluate adding protective screens to the primary worksurface, in front of and to the sides of each user.

We also advise that all desking, not iust sit/stand desking, should observe the social/physical distancing guidelines as best as possible. Alternating desk usage on a day by day basis, and limiting who is coming to the office on a given day may be the only way to manage this in the early days of our return.

Another consideration is to modify the direction employees face while working at their desks. New worksurfaces shapes are being developed to support this conversation.

Q: What considerations should we make regarding sit/stand workstations? … pre­existing or new?

In years past sit/stand solutions have been a key factor in the conversation around employee we/I-being and are the primary investment that companies have made as a result.

We believe the value added by an investment in a sit/stand environment should not be lost as a result of the collective pivot we all need to make as a result of Covid-19.

The same considerations for modifications and design will apply to all workstations. Sit/stand will require a closer look, more modification, and strict adherence to space planning.