How to adapt an office after COVID-19
SPACES

How to adapt an office after COVID-19

8 September, 2020

With the new measures adopted in the context of the health crisis caused by the COVID-19, the return to the office has been implemented in many workplaces in a staggered manner and with a series of measures to protect workers from possible contagion 

The advent of teleworking has been a great challenge for millions of workers who, used to a totally social and dynamic reality in which they performed their tasks in a shared environment with their colleagues, have had to face a new challenge, have been forced to work from their homes. 

However, we cannot claim that the end of house arrest has meant a return to normality in the offices; at least, not to a normality as we have known it until now.  The challenge continues for companies with a task that can make a difference: the restructuring of offices to comply with the new regulations in force.

Gradually, working areas such as offices, open offices, coworking spaces, breakout rooms or meeting rooms, have adopted certain mandatory measures aimed at redefining collaborative zones while maintaining security measures. 

At Viccarbe we have prepared a gradual return to collective workplaces. Therefore, we explain how to adapt the different types of offices after COVID-19, as well as providing some examples of collaborative furniture that fit in with these new spaces.

How office space has changed after COVID-19

While it is true that offices were already changing and improving in terms of comfort and convenience, COVID-19 has forced the transformation of new approaches and aspects of office design. The concept of the ideal office or organized workspace has changed completely, as there are as many spaces appearing all time in companies compared to the number of people working in them. The need to reinvent in terms of design, decoration and furniture to meet new requirements is a fundamental task. 

Although there is still no official regulation to prevent the virus in the workplace, this reality has caused us to reconfigure our habits and ways of behaving, both individually and collectively. Some of the measures or challenges that companies need to take to avoid contagion are:

  • Maintain the two metre distance. It is the minimum space required per person in an office that also enhances the feeling of comfort and security. Office workers should be at least two meters away from each other at all times to avoid contagion. Adapting to this separation can be easier if companies implement new signage that warms compliance with the social distance, as in the case of this warning that designer Jaime Hayron created last year for Viccarbe.

 

social distance by jaime hayon

  • Enhance teleworking. It is important to redefine the flow of circulation in organized workspaces. Companies will have to incorporate several points for virtual meetings within a collaborative philosophy, because if the enterprise has many employees, they may be working from home or at the company. Also, in offices, periods of visits of travel to other locations or companies will also be reduced. 
  • Reduce the capacity. Depending on the square metres available in the offices or organizing your workspace, it may be necessary to reduce the capacity. In addition, desks that were previously shared by employees will have to be reallocated to maintain appropriate distance to avoid the exchange of physical information. 
  • Gradually readapting the spaces. Some enterprises have already incorporated lighting sensors to avoid having to constantly touch switches, voice controls or taps and doors that are automatically activated by a motion detector.
  • Applicating sanitary rules. Companies with offices working in person should adapt spaces to promote the use of easy to clean materials as well as encourage constant hand disinfection with hydroalcoholic gel or handwashing. In the same vein, each workplace will have to take certain measures according to its space requirements by implementing a series of partitions or panels and making it compulsory to wear a mask. 

Have a contingency plan in place. If we detect a case of COVID-19 in the office, it is necessary to implement an urgent action protocol. In turn, this case should be reported to the relevant health services and to employees who have been in contact with the infected person for quarantine.

Furniture that adapts to offices in the face of the pandemic

In this return to the office we must be able to maintain physical but not social distance. The main objective will be to continue to work towards a common goal to be proud of as an organisation and to understand a new way of distributing office space. At Viccarbe we have selected flexible furniture that will allow us to adapt and ensure the layout of the spaces:

  1. Sistema Sofa. This sofa is designed for maximum comfort and functionality. Its multiple compositions allow the client to configure the sofa according to their tasters and the needs of their project. With different backrests, seats, armrests or accessories, the Sistema Sofa creates an innovative concept piece. Thanks to the different modules and accessories, such as integrated tables and arms, it is possible to design angular or linear compositions that adapt to any space and office, always respecting the safety distances. In addition, includes the option to add integrated electrifications, facilitating connectivity for users at all times.
  2. Serra Table. Perfect for dividing spaces, this piece has been designed to be easily transported. It is also the most suitable if we want to rest our computers or simply have a coffee while respecting the safety distance.
  3. Last Minute Stool. Designed by Patricia Urquiola, the Last Minute Stool is a versatile piece that offers mobility to office workers. Is characterised by its versatility in providing mobility for office workers. It is perfect for the new office concept where new needs arise and spaces are transformed into multidisciplinary corners.
  4. Trestle Table. The Trestle Table, designed by architect John Pawson, allows the creation of infinite compositions thanks to its large dimensiones, which makes it easy to incorporate protective screens or to maintain the safety distance between employees, for example. This versatile piece is best suited for spaces such as offices or meeting rooms and open spaces with a lot of use as it is a very sturdy piece with fine, clean lines and wooden legs.
  5. Maarten Plastic Chair. This chair is made of an easy to clean material that allows for quick disinfection, perfect for shared spaces such as meeting rooms and dining rooms.  The Maarten Plastic Chair is an ideal piece for use in shared spaces with a lot of worker traffic. In this wheeled version, it enhances collaboration and teamwork by bringing employees together through agile and smooth movements.

In order to make the return to the office as safe as possible, Viccarbe, specialised in the manufacture and design of furniture for contract, retail, hospitality and home, has developed the “Transitional Normality” Guide for the return to social spaces. This guide facilitates the gradual return to collective spaces, safety and security, the spirit of collaboration and the comfort zone. Download it for free from our website.