Office and Conference Room Makeovers for Reopening Businesses Using Whiteboard Walls
As businesses and organizations adjust to the evolving post-COVID-19 global environment, they’re making unique and innovative changes to the workplace, for example, a whiteboard wall. At this pivotal time, when millions of team members are returning to offices, companies, and groups are working to safeguard their staff through creative approaches to office design and restructuring. While the circumstances have prompted some firms, such as the big technology giants, to promote more extensive work-from-home options, other companies are modifying their existing offices to address the rapidly changing needs of the post-coronavirus culture.
Aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the most significant of which is social distancing, have set off worldwide dialog and change. The entire global community now realizes the value of the so-called “six-feet rule.” And as we begin to envision and develop a post-COVID-19 society, we’ll need to consider how to adjust to functioning in a transformed world, which will no doubt include integrating the six feet guideline into everyday life.
Indeed, as companies and organizations adapt to today’s new concept of normal, business and institutional workplaces may well undergo long-term transformations. As your company or organization prepares to reopen the office to a level of normal functioning, the equipment, furniture, and design concepts presented below can help your team stay safe and productive while operating in accordance with new public health and safety regulations.
Relocate Your Present Office Furnishings and Equipment and Remove Unnecessary Items
At the moment, the primary concern for managers of businesses and organizations is bringing their team members back into safe, secure offices as swiftly as possible. In carrying out the process of reopening, they’ll need to focus on retrofitting their work environments to bring them into line with present governmental health and safety policies. One of the quickest and most practical ways to do so is to rearrange existing office furniture and equipment to ensure that their placement conforms to established social-distancing rules. For example, if feasible, team members’ desks should be spread six feet apart from one another, while other pieces of furniture and equipment can be repositioned or removed from rooms to allow for more open space among items.
Install Social Distancing Strips or Other Markers
The practice of social distancing requires that people keep six feet or two meters apart from one another in public settings such as offices, banks, and retail shops. However, estimating this distance and putting it into effect in the business or organizational workplace can be challenging. To make the process easier, you can use social distancing strips or similar markers on the floor to spell out exactly where staff members, clients, and visitors should stand to keep a safe distance from one another. It’s essential to choose strips or markers with easily seen and understood text and images, as well as an eye-catching appearance, to help everyone practice social distancing without confusion. The strips or markers should also be:
• Tough enough to withstand heavy foot traffic and spills from water and other liquids.
• Resistant to smearing and fading over time.
•Manufactured with a low profile so that they don’t trip people up or get caught on the wheels of moving dollies and the like.
Maintaining social distancing can also be aided through the use of vertical signs and symbols to help implement the six-feet rule, which many companies and organizations have already put into effect. In addition, one-way traffic instructions can be posted on signs and/or in-office memos to ensure that your team avoids engaging in unplanned or unnecessary interactions. Surfaces like the tops of desks, tables, counters, and copiers should also be frequently cleaned and sanitized, particularly in communal areas that contain shared items or equipment.
Set Up Plexiglass Barriers to Ensure that the Six-feet Rule is Followed
Many businesses and retail establishments, such as fast-food restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, and convenience stores, have already installed temporary or permanent plexiglass barriers to hinder the transmission of the coronavirus and other diseases. These same types of shields can be used in parts of the office that experience a lot of foot traffic and/or regular face-to-face contact among workers. For example, plexiglass partitions may be located in conference rooms, around desks, watercoolers, and coffee machines, and in hallways to keep employees separated and thus observe social distancing rules. Such dividers made of plexiglass or other materials may soon come to be permanent fixtures in offices and businesses around the world.
Turn Communal Areas Into Temporary Workspaces
For many businesses and organizations, large communal areas like conference rooms, cafeterias, and break rooms are currently not being used in order to comply with global social distancing protocols. However, instead of altogether abandoning these places, you can use them as provisional workspaces so that your team members are able to spread out and function at safe distances from one another. In addition, if outdoor space is available, you can have your team work outside when the weather permits.
Open the Windows in Your Building as an Alternative to Air Conditioning
Based on recent studies by scientists at the University of California-Davis and the University of Oregon, opening windows is the best method for climate-controlling an office and, at the same time, checking the propagation of COVID-19. This is because air conditioning and heating systems re-circulate air all through a building, thus increasing the chances of viruses diffusing into different areas. By contrast, opening the windows allows air to flow freely throughout a facility, thus preventing the virus from moving around in personal offices and shared spaces.
Install a Whiteboard Wall to Help Team Members Practice Social Distancing
Installing top-quality whiteboard-coated walls in your office can help both employees and managers adhere to the six-foot separation rule, as the walls’ huge surfaces will allow multiple team members to write memos, brainstorm ideas for projects, create diagrams, and perform other work-related tasks at the same time while staying a safe distance apart. Dry erase coated walls provide vast open canvases for doing an endless variety of business-oriented work, after which they can be quickly and easily erased with a microfiber cloth to allow ideas to be freely recorded and constantly updated. The process of writing or drawing at safe social distances can be made more accessible if colorful signs or markers with attention-grabbing images are installed on the floor in front of the walls, thus ensuring that everyone knows precisely how far apart to stand when working.
Also, the large text and drawings created on whiteboard-coated walls can be readily seen from a distance, another factor that contributes to their usefulness in practicing social distancing. By comparison, the writing and graphics produced on traditional whiteboards, computers, laptops, and tablets are extremely small and require close contact between team members if they’re to be discussed or examined.
Add Plants to the Office to Help Purify the Air and Improve Health and Productivity
Office plants can enhance the overall health and well-being of your team members and thus reduce the number of sick days taken. Plants have the natural ability to remove pollutants from the air and help refresh the environment. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration reports that keeping indoor plants is the most efficient and cost-effective way to naturally detoxify the air in a building. And during the current time of COVID-19, plants can help prevent your office from becoming a place for this and other viruses to grow and multiply.
Also, a study by psychologists from Exeter University in the UK revealed that when indoor plants and other interior décor are added to an office, workers become 15% more productive. This effect is due to the fact that when team members interact with their environment by occasionally observing plants and other decorative items, they feel contented, generate more output, and can more easily focus on work.