The 1.5-meter office
- Tuesday, July 7, 2020
The 1.5-meter society is expected to be transferred to the 1.5-meter office. In most parts of Europe, the rules are getting less strict. However, the 1.5-meter distance might be the most important rule that remains. This means that we have to look at the options for realizing a 1.5-meter office. Are you curious about how we think of the 1.5-meter office? Find it out in this blog!
Transfer the 1.5-meter society to the 1.5-meter office
Keeping a meter and a half away from your colleagues can be quite difficult in the office space. Nevertheless, we will have to get used to that distance in the coming period. Measures will have to be taken in order to return to the “new normal” and this also applies to office life. It is expected that the 1.5-meter society will remain for a long time. How can you take into account a distance of 1.5-meter in the office space? Which solutions should we use? In short: how are we going to transfer the 1.5-meter society to the 1.5-meter office?
What does the 1.5-meter office look like?
The 1.5-meter society demands new measures for the office space and the workplace. Distance, space and ventilation are important just like partition walls, hygiene and routing. Yet, we all know that the contact between employees ensures job satisfaction, productivity and socialization. What measures should you, as an employer, take at the office?
1. A safe workplace
Safe and healthy workplaces are crucial for the 1.5-meter society and, therefore, the 1.5-meter office. How do you create that safe environment for your employees? First of all, start at the workplace. This is the place where every employee spends most of its time. It is wise to work with your own keyboard and mouse as much as possible. In addition, the distance between the desks of your employees is an important point.
It is good to have a 1.5-meter distance between them, but it is also important to remember that you are in one space. The airflow is less optimal indoors and the lack of air exchange is a note as well. Therefore, open the windows as much as possible for a constant flow of fresh air. Is that not possible or is there still not enough space? Then put the desks as far apart as possible. In addition, mark the zones with tape or carpet. This ensures sufficient distance, but also creates awareness among the staff
2. Work with partitions
In the 1.5-meter office, limiting the spread of the virus is crucial. Acoustic screens and/or plexiglass can help because with these you can easily place an acoustic partition between the desks. Not only does it provide some form of protection, but the acoustic wall also dampens ambient sounds. This offers more peace of mind for the employee.
With partitions or plexiglass walls, you ensure that contact between employees is limited, making it as safe as possible. When placing the wall, make sure that there is enough space. It is useful to protrude a wall, as there is still room left for the employee to lean back on the office chair without danger.
3. Divide the staff into groups
To manage the 1.5-meter distance, you can divide the employees into multiple groups. In this way, you keep control over the health and safety of your employees. For example, is a team member from group 1 ill? Then group 1 has to work from home all week. By working with shifts, you can maintain the capacity of 40% in the office space, instead of 100% presence.
Each group works on a different day and on days when they are not in the office, they can work from home. Try to apply this in an ergonomic way, so that productivity and health are guaranteed. For example, make sure you have good workplaces at home for your staff.
4. One-way traffic in the 1.5-meter office
You will probably recognize the situation: you walk to the toilet and bump into 2 colleagues you meet on the way. It is important that we avoid these moments as much as possible. Therefore, ensure one-way traffic in the pedestrian routes. It might sound childish, but you can tape the walking routes with arrows so that it is clear to everyone in which direction they should walk.
5. Pause in shifts
Set up the lunch area at a 1.5-meter distance by creating extra distance between chairs and tables. Put half the number of chairs around the lunch table to create more safety. Do all employees pause at the same time? Then work in shifts. After the first shift, the table and chairs must be cleaned. These measurements have to ensure that you can keep enough distance and, thus, that everybody can take breaks safely.
6. Meet in a new way
You can still hold meetings in the 1.5-meter office, but remotely in a large room. Make sure that the meeting place has fewer chairs. Here, you can also remove half of the chairs. Besides, you have to meet at a spacious conference table to ensure the distance. You may want to consider placing plexiglass on the conference tables, which limits any transmission of the virus. Do you work in shifts? Then you can also meet by video calling. This allows employees who work from home to participate in the meeting in a safe and productive manner.
7. Flex workers work in a fixed location
To guarantee the safety (and health) of your employees, you can still work with flex workers. However, you must take into account that a workplace may not be shared on the same day. Changing places midday is not an option. Do you only work for half a day? Then the workplace is reserved for you throughout the day to avoid the risk of infection.
8. Instructions for the staff
You should not only furnish the office space according to the 1.5-meter measures, but you should also give your staff instructions. Provide a clear protocol and share it with all employees. In addition to the clear instruction, you can use stickers. Stick arrows on the ground for the walking route, place stickers at the toilet and in the canteen for even more awareness and compliance with the 1.5-meter measurements.
We can only do this together!
9. Hygiene precautions
The hygiene rules on preventing the spread of the virus are still in force. The following precautions are sensible to observe and communicate to personnel:
Provide a sufficient amount of soap dispensers and disinfection gel in the sanitary areas;
Only use paper towels;
Close the toilet lid before flushing;
Clean door handles with a disinfectant at least 4 times a day;
Disinfect all keyboards, mouses, smartphones and workplaces every day;
Make sure that every employee has their own disinfection gel at their workplace;
Emphasize staying at home with colds, fever and/or a sore throat.
By applying the 1.5-meter measures at the office and drawing up a clear protocol to all employees, we can slowly return to the office. It is important that we do this together! Not only to ensure the safety and health of the personnel but also to contain the virus. Can you use some additional advice? Please contact our interior experts for tailor-made expert advice. We are happy to think along with you about the 1.5-meter office.