COVID-19 Secure Workplaces
COVID-19 has affected and brought about change in where and how we work for both employers and employees. At the start of the pandemic workers were told where possible to work from home. As restrictions have been lifting we have seen a slow trickle of employees return to the physical workplace. Not a mass return of employees but, a trickle so how can we ensure our workplaces are COVID-19 secure and our employees and visitors feel happy and safe to return?
How to Adapt your Workplace to COVID-19 Secure Working Practice
A completed risk assessment of your workplace should highlight the areas which need to be changed and adapted to COVID-19 secure working practice. Probably by now this has been completed and signage, social distancing, and hand sanitiser is in place but, what can you do additionally to ensure a COVID-19 secure workplace? Or perhaps you are considering completing a workplace refurbishment or office fit out and would like ideas on how to further ensure a COVID-19 secure working environment?
Starting at the entrance and on arrival at the workplace, Thermal Detection Cameras can be installed to identify those with a high body temperature and possible COVID-19 infection before they mix and mingle with other employees or visitors, thus removing the risk off an outbreak within your workplace.
The opening of doors by touching either the door handle, push plate or access button is a concern for many. Firstly the supply of hand sanitiser is a must near all highly used doors. Other options include refurbishing and updating your workplace doors to automatic doors which open when approached or installing manual door opening device enabling the door to be opened by a foot, arm or elbow thus removing the need to touch the door handle, push plate or access button. Remember fire doors are installed to allow the safe evacuation of a building and a full door audit should be completed before any changes are made to existing doors.
Signage conveying very important messages should be installed to inform employees and visitors they are entering and are to adhere to new safe working practices within this workplace. Getting the message across is key and this can be done by adding the information on to the walls or within the flooring. Signage using colour, shape, texture either upon walls or within flooring is ideal to convey those very important purpose messages across to all.
Similarly different coloured or textured flooring can be used to indicate zones and team areas thus ensuring social distancing. By differing one area from another area this enables working bubbles or team shifts to work and stay together safely in their designated area. This can also enable the space to be planned to achieve the maximum level of occupancy.
Workplace lighting can be updated and refurbished to touch-free movement sensor lighting. Any movement detected within defined sensor areas will trigger the lights to switch on thus removing the need to touch the light switch to turn the lights on.
The use of desk screens or divide screens is an effective physical barrier for ensuring employee wellbeing. Screens can be positioned upon desks or can be freestanding with wheels or without. They can be made from acrylic, laminated glass, fabric, plastic or PET which is a plastic but because of its felt like surface looks like a fabric. The clear screens are easy to clean and the PET screens are noted for easy to clean and their anti-microbial properties. The clear plastic or acrylic screens will sit often unnoticed in the office set up whereas a PET or fabric screen using colour, design, branding will add character to the workspace.
An alternative to screens which will remove any feelings of isolation, encourage those spontaneous chats and sparks of creativity is to add or remove selected pieces of office furniture to ensure social distancing but enabling collaboration, inspiration and team work.
Selecting the right choice of materials and finishes will be key to the prevention of COVID-19. The chosen fabric, finish, or product should be able to withstand the new rigorous cleaning standards implemented whilst remaining in tip-top condition and pleasing to the eye.
With the need to control numbers within the workspace to ensure social distancing and safe working practice, monitoring of room usage by using a booking in systems for room or a room busy indicators using a traffic light system, red indicating the room is busy or up to capacity should be considered to prevent overcrowding.
Toilets and washrooms can be refurbished to include a touch-free toilet flush and taps. A movement sensor will activate the flush on the toilet and turn on the water supply at the taps. Some systems will close the toilet lid after use and before flushing to prevent the spread of germs.
How Can Prime Solutions Help You?
- Advise on fabric, finishes and products required
- Audit the office furniture to remove or add additional pieces so the ambience is not only pleasing but enables inspiration, creativity and collaboration
- Fit-out the office with the correct number and type of desk or divide screens
- Advise and install directional signage within the flooring or upon the office walls
- Create team zones by supplying and installing different coloured or textured flooring to highlight different areas
- Audit the office doors for their suitability to change to automatic or install no touch door handling devices
- Install energy efficient sensor lighting
- Install monitoring systems to aid in the occupancy of rooms and the prevention of overcrowding
- Provide assistance with the installation of Thermal Detection Cameras
- Refurbish workplace toilets and washroom facilitates