Office furniture strategies offer us a simple and attainable defence against COVID-19 transmissions by creating division and social distancing barriers.
With new products already coming to market in response to our changing demands, we’re seeing a rapid re-shape in office furniture. In addition to a number of ‘add-on’ products that can attach to existing furniture items to create physical barriers, the construction materials of furniture are changing to become antimicrobial. Meanwhile there has been a rapid increase in touch-less technologies that will assist us in reducing community contamination.
To support social distancing guidelines screens can be provided to help restrict movement in the office. These should be considered an application on reception desks, as division panels on banks of desks, and can be desk mounted for height adjustable desks.
Sanitation products should be integrated into all work settings to provide employees with easy access to a range of hygiene products and emphasising the importance of ‘washing, wiping and sanitising’ on the job. Many personal care manufacturers are offering caddies to sit on an employee’s desk and larger units for meetings rooms and reception areas.
Free standing cubicle like pods can potentially block harmful virus transmissions that occur through talking, coughing and sneezing. These pods have integrated high screens that allow the user to define their own space, giving assurances of both physical distance and psychological comfort. They offer a quiet and comfortable place to work and can come in more open or completely closed models with glass doors.
Any shared storage facilities will need to be removed and replaced with individual items including coat storage and shared stationary facilities. Invest in storage units made from non-porous hard surfaces and if space is limited consider how you could use storage to separate people.
Materials will be transitioning to easy to clean, bleach cleanable, non-porous hard surfaces, anti-bacterial and antimicrobial products. In terms of products coming to market we are expecting to see a decrease in the usage of soft or porous materials and also a reduction of seams and folds on products and furniture.
This piece is part of our ongoing commitment to delivering resources that will help initiate discussions around getting your workplace back to work safely. More resources are available here.