COVID-19 has created unprecedented and extraordinary challenges for people around the world – not least within our workplaces. However, as restrictions are slowly being lifted as vaccines are being rolled out, we can at the very least, look to get back to some semblance of the 'normal' we experienced pre-March 2020.

Throughout the last year, the team here at Active have been helping a wide range of businesses to ready themselves for what's to come. Whether that's been helping them to redesign their current spaces, building completely new interiors, fitting them out with new technological infrastructure or simply offering advice; we can offer a complete range of workplace solutions to get everyone safely back in the office.

To emphasise this, we have created a guide on the different aspects that need to be looked at before any workplace is opened – if you run your own business that's planning on returning soon, read on for some expert advice from our office designers.

Creating An Engaging and COVID-Safe Working Environment…

We have created guidance to help you and your teams safely navigate the path back to work. You may not need to implement every step but if you do, Active is ready to mobilise and assist you.

We have thought of everything from helping your homeworkers to work safely to decontaminating the workplace and of course, with the core objective to provide you and your people with peace of mind.

…For Homeworkers.

As a direct result of Coronavirus, many companies have had to change their employees' place of work from the office (or another workplace) to home. Now, as part of a phased return to work with a directive to encompass physical distancing, staggered travel, reducing building occupancy and many other COVID workplace considerations, employers must decide on the best balance between office and home working in both the short and longer-term.

To make the most informed decisions, information is needed. Our eSurveys are tailored to ascertain information from managers and individual employees; which business teams and individuals are better suited to home working and those where a great office-based presence is necessary. The resulting survey analysis will inform business leaders, enable department headcount desk allocations to be made and specific days or times of office working to be accommodated.

…For Social Distancing.

Physical distancing, route and queuingsignage information and warning notices, as well as sanitising stations; these are some of the many measures with which a post-COVID office environment will need to comply. This is not an exercise that should be undertaken lightly.

Our trained design and space planning personal can survey your existing workplace or use existing space plans to identify requirements and provide appropriate, but engaging, signage and equipment suggestions. These will meet both government guidelines and correspond with your business branding standards on messaging.

If required, we can also supply the agreed signage/equipment and install it on-site with minimum disruption. In addition, a periodic maintenance service can also be provided to supply message updates and ensure signage remains in place and clearly visible.

…With Decontamination Treatment.

As part of the return to the workplace, one of the many questions that employees may have is 'will I be safe at work'. At Active, we have been working with our service partners and BIO Decon Group to offer the proven SteraMistTM cleaning solution to our customers.

This hydrogen peroxide-based mist treatment is fully transportable and can disinfect and decontaminate both the air and all surfaces in any size of sealed workplace. The process does not disrupt the workplace layout, there'll be no desks to move, no contents to pack and can therefore be quickly completed as an outside office hours activity to minimise any disruption.

The process offers a level of decontamination that cleaning alone cannot provide, as well as an ongoing treatment program that ensures the benefits are maintained. Overall, this service provides reassurance and confidence that the workplace is safe to work in.

…By Implementing Move Management & Relocation Service ToExisting Space.

In line with government guidance, a return-to-work plan will need to encompass physical distancing within the workplace. Within the wider office space, the direction from the BritishCouncil of Offices currently specifies a 2-metre space between desk work settings.

An easy 2-metre measure is to line up four task chairs; we would however suggest a more detailed process is followed, with meeting rooms and restaurant areas and other gathering areas is included in the process.

Our experienced space planners and design teams can undertake this work and once a revised layout is approved, our move managers and teams can complete any repositioning moves and install desk spacing signage to ensure distancing is maintained. The move team can also move any surplus furniture; meeting/task chairs to on-site or off-site store.

…With Furniture Storage.

With the need to establish physical distancing within the workplace, as part of the Government return to work guidance there will be various surplus furniture (desking, seating, storage, breakout, restaurant and chairs of several types).

If storage space at the site is not available, either temporary off-site storage and/or clearance are two possible solutions. We can provide a secure off-site storage solution that can incorporate asset identification and tagging as part of a managed solution. Alternatively, with the need to de-densify the workplace for some period of time.

As part of the process around which furniture should remain at the site, there is also the opportunity to identify certain furniture that is no longer required. Depending on the type, age and condition, this furniture may be suitable for resale, charitable donation or be made redundant (requiring ethical recycling).

…By Making Adaptations To The Office Environment.

To meet Government guidance on physical distancing within the workplace, it may be necessary to make adaptations to the current environment.

This may take the form of temporary construction to achieve route demarcation requirements (for example), or the modification of reception, restaurant or wider office areas to provide additional protection through the use of Perspex sneeze screen protection(amongst other safeguards).

Alternatively, more permanent changes to working measures might include the installation of meeting toom divider systems to offer smaller and more versatile meeting or video call settings.

Active's skilled Fit Out and Refurbishmentteams can advise and install a range of solutions that are both efficient and cost-effective.

…With Planned Deep Cleaning and Reactive Decontamination Cleans.

In tandem with the specialist decontamination treatment, a regime of deep, interval and reactive cleaning is an effective part of a return to work and ongoing structured, preventative clean workplace plan.

An antibacterial deep clean goes further and deeper (as the name suggests) than a regular cleaning program, leaving each surface sanitised and germ-free. Interval cleaning can be used to target specific areas for additional attention as part of a hygienic cleaning strategy. Reactive cleaning can address specific cleaning hot spots, such as sanitising specific work areas, storage/locker space for individuals who have reported COVID symptoms.

We provide a full range of cleaning services to support existing cleaning programs – we can also tailor plan; carried out over a set term to address specific requirements. All our cleaning services are flexible and reactive to suit your requirements.

…With Building and Fabric Maintenance.

Every building and internal workspace requires maintenance to ensure it remains in top condition. As an immediate effect of the pandemic, many offices and other workplaces went from full utilisation levels to minimal (or even empty). As a result of this, planned preventative or compliance maintenance may have slipped.

Additionally, with a move to lower building occupancy levels (to correspond with new guidelines), checks and adjustments to HVAC and other control systems should also be made part of a comprehensive return to work plan.

There is no leeway on items covered by statutory and mandatory regulations; any lapsed certificate must be replaced and re-certified before the building can reopen. It's important to note that property insurance may also be invalidated unless safety and building critical systems are certified to statutory requirements.

We can provide comprehensive planned and reactive maintenance services for all types of building needs and we are happy to complete a no-obligation survey and itemised proposal.

…By Providing Peace of Mind.

Above everything else, we cannot emphasise enough that peace of mind is a vital element in getting everyone back to work. This is why we have gone the extra mile to ensure that we are fully-equipped to help bring your workplace back to life, safely and with confidence.

If you would like to discuss any element of what you've seen here (or have any other questions), please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.

Get In Touch With Our Team For An Active WorkplaceSolution

Throughout the last two decades, the Active team have been providing innovative workplace solutions to a wide range of clients – regardless of their size, industry or particular requirements. Whether it's designing and building offices, relocating firms to new interiors mor providing storage – our service encompasses all aspects of the workplace. So why not allow us to help you with finding your perfect solutions?

To learn more about our office design services, have a look at our case studies which detail the works we have performed, providing you with an insight into how we work and how we could help you too.

If you would like to speak to us directly, give us a call on 0845130 9066 or send an e-mail to info@activeworkplacesoultions.co.uk

Where to find us

Active Workplace Solutions, a trading name of Active Facilities Management Ltd

Unit 4 Headley Park 10 Headley Road East Woodley, Reading Berkshire RG5 4SW

+44 (0)845 130 9066

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