Every Canadian workplace has been affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
When pandemic hit and restrictions became part of Canadian life, each workplace had a different set of challenges and opportunities ahead of them. Different companies have different customer demands, onsite capabilities and remote working opportunities.
Some essential workplaces never stopped working — they just adopted a set of procedures limiting human contact. Others shifted to work-at-home arrangements, while others closed entirely.
Now the restrictions are lifting, and companies face the challenge of creating their “new normal” with revised rules, procedures and setup.
How are companies planning to revamp their workspaces to ensure healthy, safe and productive working lives?
Safe, Healthy Workspaces
Let’s start by looking at what some large companies are doing.
WeWork, the coworking and shared office space giant, is reducing the number of seats in lounges and conference rooms, creating one-way hallways, and issuing new distancing guidelines to its employees and clients.
Peer-to-peer ridesharing leader Uber now permits only 20 percent of its employees to access the building per given day.
Shopify employees may never enter a brick-and-mortar workplace again since the company announced it plans to move permanently to a work-from-home model.
Defining Your New Normal
All these changes point to some best practices to help you define your “new normal.”
New desk arrangements
It wasn’t that long ago that companies applauded the collaborative opportunities created by “bullpens,” multi-use space and hot desking. However, those desk layouts must change in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More remote working opportunities
Remote working was growing before we heard of coronavirus. Then the pandemic restrictions hit, and the remote working opportunities landed squarely on kitchen tables across the country! The work-at-home trend will undoubtedly continue as a way to manage the pandemic health concerns.
More personal space
Your employees have always had the right to ask for specific working arrangements for health reasons. These arrangements include stand-up desks to alleviate back problems or ventilated areas to tackle allergies.
Post-COVID, these requests will grow. Workers with asthma are at higher risk from COVID-19 complications, and they will likely request physical distance from coworkers.
Stricter cleaning schedules
The coronavirus can survive on surfaces, so working areas and surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized more often.
Staggered arrival times
If everyone starts at the same time, the entryways and common areas get crowded.
Staging area for elevators
Elevators are close quarters. Large office towers are limiting the number of people riding in elevator cars, and they’re organizing waiting areas with proper social distancing.
Directing office foot traffic
We’ve always walked around our workplaces casually. COVID changes that. Organizations will designate footpaths, specify the walking areas, and designate doorways as entry or exit only.
Temperature checks at work
Digital thermometers are becoming commonplace entering airports, medical clinics or even hair salons. Going forward, responsible workplaces will make temperature checks part of their health & safety practices.
Many of these practices are already in place, and undoubtedly will be for the foreseeable future.
Track COVID Procedures
Track Office Furniture has taken action to increase safety in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every part of Track — from showroom visits to deliveries, commercial moving and decommissioning jobs — have been revamped to protect employees and partners, ensure social distancing, limit or remove physical contact, enhance hygienic practices and control traffic.