Arranging Workstations for Social Distancing in the Office

Arranging Workstations for Social Distancing in the Office

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

Stay-at-home orders have lifted and social distancing, or physical distancing, is now a reality in the office.

You can return to the workplace with confidence if you plan your space well to help maximize health and productivity. Adjusting to current recommendations requires arranging workstations so employees can stay at least six feet apart.

That seems to be the accepted distance for limiting transmission when “an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air,” according to the Centers for Disease Control. The best way to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus is limiting face to face contact and maintaining a physical distance.

Arrange your office and form protective barriers based on the number of users around a desk or workstation.

Take note that in addition to physically arranging desks, special attention is given to details like using antimicrobial fabrics.

Read on for expert recommendations and refer to 2010 Office Furniture’s Inspiration Lookbook for creative and effective ideas to help with social distancing at the office.

Social Distancing for the Individual


Photo: Loftwall Split Space Divider

You’re the one in control at your desk whether you’re the receptionist or the CEO. It’s you and you alone—except when visitors step in or you have a meeting in your office. In that case, dividers may be the best helpers to reinforce proper distancing protocols.

Transparent dividers like the Loftwell Counter Shield let visitors see your winning smile when they enter the lobby. The shield is available in different sizes and can be used as a solitary panel or linked with others.

What about mid-level managers and executives?

The Loftwell Desk Shield accommodates the individual who has a private or semi-private office. You can welcome co-workers more safely to go over reports or have a chat. This shield is manufactured to allow for plenty of personal space. For those who are pressed for time, the unit quickly assembles in just about five minutes.

For programming or data entry workers who have a desk to themselves, look at the Loftwell Shelter Panel or Split Space Divider. These panels sit about one inch off the work surface to allow plenty of space for managing charging cables and electrical cords.

Social Distancing for Workstations and Dividers for Two


Photo: Loftwall Hitch Space Divider

If you have two desks that aren’t attached but are in close vicinity of one another, consider implementing use of the Loftwall Hitch Space Divider. Workstations facing each other can be separated at an appropriate distance to create the necessary six feet of separation between employees.

Use track mounted screens to help reduce the likelihood of transmitting unwanted bacteria.

Social Distancing for Workstation Clusters


Photo: Enwork Harbor Screen

If you have a space of four to six workers, it’s easy to partition the space using freestanding panels. If the workstations are attached, then use transparent or semi-transparent dividers between employees.

This helps create a sense of privacy and security to put workers at ease.

What if you need a budget-conscious solution?

There’s a durable product called Enwork Harbor Screen, a double-wall corrugated cardboard with structurally enhanced skin finish. The wall and roof material of the Enwork Harbor contains particulate that supposedly help repel infectious disease, decaying them in as little as 24 hours. The outer material may be easily cleaned with light disinfectants to sanitize them in minutes.

Other changes you’ll notice when returning to work may mean eliminating some practices such as employees sharing the same desk.

But there’s an upside to getting back to the office that boosts our overall wellness.

People need community and were deprived of such during quarantine. Feelings of isolation became common in April and May. It was widely agreed that the situation undermined morale and had a negative impact on workers.

And while it’s not work-life as we once accepted it, companies have to remain flexible to achieve goals while giving workers the protection they need.

Social Distancing for Power Meeting Realities

Photo: Enwork Skyline Screen 

You’re not going to rally people into a crowded conference room like you once did. Instead, get weekly department meetings going again with screens that help protect you individually and as a small group.

If you need to establish a conference area, use architectural walls to define an appropriate meeting space by enclosing a specific area.

Plan Your Space for Social Distancing Needs

Photo: Loftwall Counter Shield

The team at 2010 Office Furniture can give expert input on planning your office and determining what you need in order to help keep yourself and employees stay well, and create the most productive work setting possible.

The 2010 Office Furniture Inspiration Lookbook shows how you can place mobile screens, work stations, and chairs to help with wellness and productivity.

Describe your project here to get the advice you need.

Read Also: Social Distancing Tips and Adjusting to the Realities of Covid-19 in the Office
Main Photo by: Groupe Lacasse
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Groupe Lacasse, Loftwall & Enwork

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

Ways to Help Create Social Distancing in the Office

Ways to Create Social Distancing in the Office

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article about social distancing in the office are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

Without a doubt, Covid-19 slammed the brakes on the popular open plan trend –  where office space is maximized by seating employees together in open office spaces. Implementing an abrupt change to help remedy this by creating more social distancing in the office will take some smart space planning, but it’s quite do-able.

Integrating innovative COVID office furniture solutions into a productive work environment may help employees return safely to the office.

Here’s a suggested easy-to-follow reference list:

  • Re-configure seating distances using modular workstations
  • Place transparent screens and dividers strategically
  • Maximize use of teleconferencing media for off-site and on-site employees
  • Reduce the number of chairs in waiting areas and space them apart
  • Clearly mark six-foot spaces for breakrooms and other areas where people gather
  • Create a clockwise foot traffic flow
  • Get expert input – the team at 2010 Office Furniture has decades of experience in space planning strategies for corporations, universities and growing businesses of all sizes.

You can do this!

Let’s dig further into each of the tips by understanding the concept of the 6-Foot Office Space.

The 6-Foot Office from Cushman & Wakefield


Photo: Groupe Lacasse PanGram

The 6-Foot Office concept from Cushman & Wakefield was designed to help reintroduce people to office workspace in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The global commercial real estate firm has laid out guidelines that include:

  1. Making a quick scan of where your office already has six feet of space and where additional space can easily be created
  2. Post 6-Foot rules and guidelines to promote employee safety and well-being
  3. Route traffic through a safe flow such as a clockwise pattern around the office
  4. Fully equipped and adapted workstations for employees to work safely
  5. Designate someone to work with building managers on a comprehensive 6-Foot plan
  6. Create and post a 6-Foot safety certificate to show your company is working to reduce the potential of person-to-person spread of germs and the coronavirus

Essential Equipment to Help Social Distancing in the Office


Photo: Groupe Lacasse PanGram

Scan your office to know how much equipment you’ll need and what you’ll need. One person who’s active at a reception desk may need a different type of shield or divider than a group of three or four people working in a pod.

Employee schedules and work habits matter as well. Modular workstations make it easy to take out a desk or put one back, depending on who’s working remotely or in the office. Modular furniture gives you the flexibility to accommodate changes in habits and preferences.

Dividers and Screens


Photo: Groupe Lacasse Stad Benching

Select the best shields and dividers for needed physical barriers.

Track-mounted screens and surface dividers may work well to help create protection among low cubicle and open plan benching workers. Use transparent and semi-transparent dividers between assigned work areas to let light filter through.

Cubicles like the Friant System 2 Workstation can act as partitions, too, and offer an attractive look.

Workstations


Photo: Enwork Zori

Many workstations are designed to accommodate employees to work facing each other, such as DeskMakers TeamWorx Open Plan Desking. Instead of workers directed toward a common point, workstations can be arranged where seating is back-to-back so your team members are facing away from each other, with six feet of spacing between seats. Fortunately, it’s easy to re-configure all parts of modular furniture including tabletops, panels and storage.

Benching solutions like the Friant Verity Open Plan Benching can have single sides or double sides. With the double sides, workers sit opposite each other. You can move the desks apart so they’re not flush up against each other and then use clear dividers to create space.

It’s easy to use table-top dividers with a set-up like the Friant Interra Cubicle where modular storage units can be used to create space between employees.

Tables and Rolling Whiteboards


Photo: DeskMakers ReFit

Place sleek tables around the office to mark at least six-feet of space where necessary. Office plants placed on counter tops bring a touch of nature indoors and freshen the air. Vary the shapes of tables by using furniture like the Arcadia Delen Table, a product which comes in circular and rectangular styles.

Rolling whiteboards have already been used as separators in open office settings. It’s a way to re-imagine meeting areas where employees can sit at a distance from each other. Select a variety of multi-purpose chairs or stools to vary seating heights and provide small tables for easy note taking.

Use Remote Co-working Spaces as Needed

You may find it more budget-smart to use outside co-working space instead of completely re-configuring an office. Companies were already leveraging co-working spaces before the coronavirus pandemic, according to Mark Gilbreath, the CEO of Liquidspace, a platform that helps companies access shared offices.

Keep In-person Meeting Attendees to a Minimum for Social Distancing


Photo: Trendway Clear Wall

The use of virtual meeting applications such as Zoom has become as commonplace as gathering with co-workers around the office water cooler.  You can now expect teleconferencing and streaming to remain a normal part of business communications. Consider architectural walls like OFS Obeya Architectural Structures as office solutions that can integrate well with video conferencing equipment including projectors and monitors.

Include Everyone when Creating Space in the Office


Photo: OFS Re: Benching

Person-to-person communication was much easier when people were expected to work primarily in the office. Announcements could be posted or messages passed along to an entire department. Now that some employees work remotely, ensure that your communication flow includes everybody. Don’t just send out important emails and expect people to automatically read and respond. Follow-up. Make personal phone calls or set up a phone chain to alert your team of special announcements and important topics.

Effective communication boosts morale like providing upbeat signage personalized with your brand to make people feel safe.

Share accurate health information from the CDC and your county’s public health department.

Remember to continue celebrating and acknowledging company and personal milestones to create camaraderie.

Get Expert Input and Guidance to Help with Social Distancing in the Office

Make use of expert space planning and project management to help get the results that benefit your company.

2010 Office Furniture is more than a source for purchasing quality modular office furniture. The team offers informed guidance in establishing and re-imagining office spaces for companies and non-profits of all sizes.

Tap into 2010 Office Furniture’s more than 45 years of combined experience working with Southern California’s most distinguished brands.

Contact them with your questions and needs.

Read Also:How to Help Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans from Covid-19
Main Photo by: Trendway Volo Wall
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Trendway, Groupe Lacasse, Enwork, DeskMakers & OFS

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)