One positive outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is that there is a renewed sense of importance placed on office hygiene and safety that starts at the very beginning of the office design and construction process. Many industry experts are evaluating popular layouts like the Open Plan Office and figuring out how to make these layouts work safely and successfully in a post-COVID-19 workplace. Here are some ways in which our office contractors at BE Builds can construct a commercial office space that maximizes the health of your valued employees.
A Healthy Workplace – Old Concept, New Ideas
First, it’s important to note that a healthy office is not anything new. Over the last decade at least, we’ve seen a significant emphasis on making wellness a focus for the workplace, from a biophilic design that keeps occupants in touch with the benefits of nature and the maximization of natural lighting to work in partnership with our circadian rhythms, to ergonomic furnishings and corporate programs that support physical and mental health. And it’s an approach that simply makes sense – healthier employees are happier, more satisfied, more engaged, take less time off for illness, and are more productive – making a healthy workplace a real investment with significant ROI1 .
COVID-19 has simply fast-tracked and evolved an office design process that is already an important focus – transforming the workplace into a space that offers optimal efficiency and productivity through safety and wellness. Here’s how office construction post-COVID-19 looks.
#1 – A Breath of Fresh Air
Disease and health specialists2 agree that the best way to prevent the transmission of germs and viruses is to increase ventilation, and therefore the volume of air through our buildings. By bringing in more fresh, clean air more frequently, either through the installation of high-efficiency purifying HVAC systems or the simple act of opening up doors and windows (based on season and outdoor air pollution), the concentration of harmful elements in the air is greatly reduced. And this isn’t just sensible for our current times – it’s an effective way of reducing pollutants, allergens, and those pesky seasonal germs and viruses that steal away $10.4 billion3 in medical expenses and $9 billion4 in lost productivity each year.
#2 – A Little Bit of Nature, Naturally
As mentioned, biophilic5 design plays a significant role in mental and physical wellness – one that is more impressive than such a simple concept would first suggest. Essentially, it’s all about bringing nature into the workspace in a way that suits your brand, your office layout, and design. Elements such as living walls of oxygen-producing greenery, glass wall partitions that allow natural light to penetrate throughout a space, garden-based break spaces for informal meetings and lunch hours, and the use of raw natural materials all work together to create an environment primed for supporting health.
Studies have demonstrated how more natural surroundings help reduce stress and high blood pressure, better control blood sugar levels, balance hormone activity, promote better sleep and serotonin levels, and boost the immune system, helping us work more efficiently, with more focus and fewer sick days.
#3 – Reduced Cross-Contamination
Touching a surface that others have touched is an established health risk, whether it’s sharing keyboards and furniture at hot-desking workstations or touching the same door handles repeatedly throughout the day. New office design concepts that bring together elements of flow and spacing, as well as innovative engineering help reduce this type of cross-contamination where germs and viruses can thrive. From easily sanitized furniture that can be wiped down quickly without damaging the materials and sanitizing stations to doorless bathrooms and touchless office entry systems, we can work to significantly reduce this risk throughout the workday.
#4 – Flexible Design for Flexible Times
Many businesses are reimagining how their office spaces will be used in a post-COVID world, weighing between the relatively low-health risk environment of working from home and the established benefits of team collaboration when working in an office environment. What makes the most sense is to create a successful hybrid. A flexible workspace is all about a conscious and thoughtfully designed office buildout that brings together the best of both worlds for employers and employees and involves a push towards another trend that was already gaining ground in many industries.
This evolved hub-and-spoke design offers many employees a sense of autonomy, as well as a more effective work-life balance, which is better for individual health, wellbeing, and engagement. At the same time, it allows businesses to restructure to new locations, reduce office square footage and prioritize specific in-office functions and processes while supporting employee health and safety. Our office designs that focus on a flexible workplace include transitions to multiple smaller locations, designing spaces according to specific functions or processes (multi-use spaces, hotdesking spaces, and collaborative spaces), and designing specifically for the needs of the new hybrid workforce.
Healthier Workspace Design for Post-COVID Productivity
Health and safety in office construction have always been a priority, but COVID-19 has given it an entirely new focus – one that goes the extra mile to adapt to a new, flexible workforce and supports productivity and engagement on a holistic level. BE Builds offers an end-to-end design, furnishing, and office buildout service that focuses on what your business needs from a space in order to thrive. Contact us today or visit our website to find out how our team can deliver the exceptional for your business in New Jersey: https://bebuilds.com/