The lifting of lockdown restrictions on office space might feel a long way off, but preparations for reopening shouldn’t be taken lightly in the post-Coronavirus environment.
We don’t know exactly when; all we know is that Chancellor Rishi Sunak wants to get businesses back to normal as soon as he can. This means when the time is right the reopening of office spaces that have been closed for 6 weeks or more. Office spaces are opening into World unheard of before they shut their doors.
“We used to have what was called High Density office spaces – basically tightly packed offices with small desks. Can we do that now? Is that safe? In the post-Coronavirus workplace, we are going to have to rethink what is acceptable and safe”, explains Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk
Reopening is one thing. Helping employees and tenants feel safe is another.
The general trend for workspace over the last 10 years has been into flexible, co-working environments that encourage social interaction – this trend is almost an opposite of what we need from a workspace post-Coronavirus.
“Employees will be venturing to work after a long period of isolation, we need to reinforce the feeling of security, cleanliness and comfort they had during lockdown”, says Ratcliffe.
Hannah McDonald from CleanTeam.co.uk adds: “We already have building managers adding regular deep cleans into their schedules, additional hourly sanitation of common areas – we are under-pressure to provide a level of service I’ve never seen before in 20 years of being in commercial cleaning”.
Some tips to help those planning an office reopening:
Cleanliness & Sanitisation
To reinforce first impressions of cleanliness, touchless hand sanitisers should be installed at all entrances like you see in a hospital. Washrooms, Kitchens and entrances need sanitisers.
Reconfigure Office Space
If your offices are dense or open plan, consider installing dividers to divide up large spaces giving a feeling of security and space from others.
Plexi-Glass Protection for High Traffic Areas
Reception areas should be considered high risk for staff – make sure suitable protection is given and if necessary hard barriers installed such as Plexi-Glass dividers.
Careful Use of Materials
In common areas such as co-working spaces many use soft fabrics, however these such materials can be tricky to clean. Consider changing or deep cleaning all soft materials on a regular basis.
Washroom & Kitchen Cleaning
High traffic areas need to be cleaned very regularly with suitable anti-bacterial cleaning products. Cups, plates and cutlery need special attention.
“We need to face the real possibility people will be scared to come to work in large offices. Compliance with Government advice will be a pre-requisite, but we must also consider the feelings and needs of employees and cleanliness and security is key to this”, concludes Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk