Returning to work safely
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Returning to work safely

18 May 2020 By Jack Appleton - Framework Manager of Furniture at YPO

empty office space

Covid-19 has changed many things in our everyday lives and will have lasting effects on how we live in the future. One major change will be the way in which we work and how companies ensure the safety of their staff in the future.

The importance of our office spaces

Over the past few months, we as employees, have seen the importance of our workplaces. The need to access a printer, receiving professional input from our colleagues,  brief discussions that help us with our daily tasks and the potential to see body language and communicate free of technology, are just a few of the many reasons why an organisation needs a functioning office space.

This realisation that the office environment is key to the success of individuals, departments and companies is why we all need to ensure we have made the office a safe place to return to work.

'Will Coronavirus spell the end of the traditional office working space?’ (The Telegraph, 2020). I believe the ‘new norm’ will be to adapt the office working environment and allow for more flexible, home working. Considerations need to be made so that all staff are safe and that employees feel protected.

Designing a safer office space for everyone

Recently we see have seen pressure on companies to be able to fit more and more employees into the office but that does not always allow for the safety and well-being of the staff. There has to be a more careful and considerate approach to the way in which we design the office, mitigating the risks as much as possible.

As a Furniture Framework Manager, I have seen the increase in the ‘smarter working’ office environments that have been rolled out around the country. These environments allow companies to work smarter, encourage higher productivity and consider health and well-being.

I believe the next step in the smarter working program will be to protect staff and companies from any future risks, including Covid-19. As a nation we were completely unprepared for such an event and we should not be caught out again in the future.

Office furniture and the office setting should be some of the first considerations an organisation thinks about, when returning to work. There are products and design layouts that will help companies to keep staff safe and align with the government guidelines. Below are some helpful tips on how to make your office as safe as possible for returning to work;

Making your office safer for a return

  • Invest in desk screens which protect the space you are working at
  • Look to order wider desking
  • Re-design office layouts to make the most of available spaces
  • Encourage more staff to work from home
  • Look to purchase items that can be ‘touch free’
  • Make the workstation a personal zone where an employee’s belongings can be kept together
  • Mobile dispensers can be placed strategically around the office
  • Create dedicated meeting areas that allow enough space for everyone
  • Allow break out areas that an employee can go to if they are feeling anxious or uncomfortable

All these things can be a daunting thought and seem to be costly. The YPO framework has market leading suppliers that can help with everything and within the designated budgets.

For more information on how we can help you with returning to work safely, get in touch with the team!

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