Working in the Time of COVID – Part II

Last week we reviewed some great Work at Home furniture solutions, but our focus is designing office workspaces, so let’s talk about working in the office during COVID.  The spring of 2020 was a bit crazy for everyone.  It took us all a bit of time to get our bearings and find our new normal.  Our vendors kept their eyes on the ball and very quickly announced new products to mitigate COVID in the workplace.  We’ve seen a lot of innovation very quickly and we are so proud to represent these brands.

Office designs have trended to airy and open with little privacy and low panels, that leaves little protection for the worker.  Clear screens added to your existing furniture can provide the protection you need without taking away from the aesthetics of the office.  There are many options to choose from.  Screens can come in a variety of materials and finishes.  Most screens purchased for COVID are clear.  They can be made of acrylic, glass or Lexan.  These choices allow the addition of the screen while leaving sightlines unobstructed.  Other screen options include frosted acrylic, colored frosted acrylic, fabric, PET or laminate.

Screens can be added to your existing tables, desks and panels.  Below are a selection of options to add screens to your existing furniture.  First is an AIS Calibrate Reception station with their freestanding and mounted screens.  Second is Fluid Concepts’ Protective Desk Screen.  This screen is completely freestanding, can be moved as needed, and offers access below to pass paperwork between worker and client.  Third is from Furniture Lab and their DineSafe™ Panels.  These screens come in a variety of styles for most tables.  We think this 4-way cross screen is a great way to add protection to break room tables without giving up seats.  The last photo is Mergeworks’ panel extenders.  These screens can be added to most panel systems with a universal mount.  This is a great way to add height to your panels without giving up light.

Freestanding screens are another option to consider.  These can be added to desks, tables, lobby waiting areas, pretty much any place where separation is required.  The added benefit is they can be easily moved as needed.  The first photo below is Mergeworks’ Notch Wall.  This freestanding screen offers protection both above and below surface height, extending out from the desk.  This is a great addition for benching or touch-down stations.  These are available in multiple heights and widths to fit most requirements.  Second is Fluid Concepts’ Flag Screens.  These screens are a great way to provide protection in waiting areas, retail spaces, restaurants, even at the salon.  The final photo is Mergeworks’ Villa Walls.  These mobile screens are a great way to divide a space with easy adjustability.

PPE and signage are also ways to mitigate COVID exposure in the work place.  We have several vendors that offer PPE stations that can be placed centrally to encourage hand sanitizing and mask wearing.  Signage can also be used to develop office traffic patterns that minimize face-to-face contact and support social distancing.  Peter Pepper Products offers several styles in their healthFIRST® Infection Prevention Centers.  Freestanding and wall-hung models are available.  The first photo below shows their freestanding unit that houses a waste bin, a mount for hand sanitizer, and slots to insert mask, glove or tissue boxes.  Hon has introduced their hand sanitizer stand to add easy access in any area of the office, shown in the second photo below along with their Soothe seating.  The stand is available freestanding or wall hung.  2/90 Sign Systems is our go-to for office signage.  Their COVID-19 signage is a great way to remind employees and guests to social distance and to help create traffic patterns that facilitate distancing.

There are so many products and materials available today to help create a safer working environment that it’s impossible to show them all here.  Give us a call to discuss your needs.  We’ll evaluate your space and needs and suggest products to help you protect both your employees and your customers.  You can reach us at 210-521-9900.