Navigating Office Design in a COVID-19 World. Refurbishment or Relocation?

Early 2020 saw the world struck by the Coronavirus Pandemic, which has gone on to impact society and economies across the globe on a previously unprecedented scale.
One of the results of this has been a reduction in the safe capacity of office-workers in the traditional workplace due to social-distancing rules. This, in turn, has led to a major rethink in office design going forwards.
Of course, this is proving a worrying headache for many business owners in an uncertain financial world.
However, doing nothing is not an option. Therefore, we’ve put together a useful guide to help you with this.
So, is your office ready for a Covid-Safe World?

Let’s start off with the 5 main recommended steps to working safely, as advised by government guidelines:

5 STEPS TO WORKING SAFELY

1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
• Before restarting work you should ensure the safety of the workplace by carrying out a risk assessment in line with   the HSE guidance
• Share the results of the risk assessment with your workforce and on your website
2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures

• Encourage people to follow the guidance on hand washing and hygiene
• Provide hand sanitiser around the workplace, in addition to the washrooms
• Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
• Enhanced cleaning for busy areas

3. Help people to work from home
• Discuss home working arrangements with all staff
• Ensure they have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems
• Include them in all necessary communications

4. Maintain social distancing, where possible
• Put up signs and use floor tape to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
• Avoid sharing workstations
• Arrange one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
• Switch to seeing visitors by appointment only if possible

5. Where people cannot be a safe distance apart, manage transmission risk
• Consider whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate
• Keep the activity time involved as short as possible
• Use masks, screens and barriers to limit the risk of transmission
• Use back-to-back working whenever possible
• Stagger arrival and departure times
• Reduce contact by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’

REFURBISHMENT OR RELOCATION?

Now that we are familiar with the 5 main points, how do we go about implementing them?
The first question must be, ‘refurbishment or relocation?’
Choosing one or the other can be part of a long-term plan for your business to get back to normal. Or the ‘new normal’. Not only to adhere to the Government guidelines, but also to keep your workers safe and confident in returning to work.

Below we weigh up the pros and cons of both options.

OFFICE REFURBISHMENT

Here we have two options. An office ‘fit-out’ is working on a new, empty space. Whereas a ‘refurbishment’ is improving your current workspace.

Both options can be a step towards the recovery of your business by using your current space. Whether it is simply changing the office layout to implement and adhere to social distancing rules, or a chance to replace outdated and tired furniture and equipment as part of a whole, new re-branding.

Pros
Makes better use of your current office space
Increases employee productivity
Improves health and safety
Reinforces the company branding
Instils employee confidence

Cons
Space not being utilised efficiently
Higher overhead costs long-term
Waste of finances on spaces that aren’t used regularly

OFFICE RELOCATION

One upshot of the Covid-19 pandemic is that a lot of businesses have realised they can function just as effectively with some, or the majority, of their workforce working from home.

As a result, existing office spaces, especially larger, more expensive to run ones, can now be a waste of space and finances. Relocating provides the opportunity to down-size and utilise finances more cost-effectively.

Pros
Lower overhead costs due to smaller space
Personal benefits for employees working from home
A chance to rethink and put into action new company processes
Go greener with more sustainable design and material choices

Cons
Longer process, including sourcing and costing a new location and fitting-out the new premises
Some employees might not be able to relocate
Risk of a change in company culture and identity
Potential losses in collaboration opportunities and connectivity

To sum up…

The decision to refurbish or relocate your office isn’t going to be an easy one, and inevitably will incur some sort of costs.

That is where we here at COMPANY IMAGE, specialists in office refurbishments and warehouse solutions come in.

With over 10 years’ experience our dedicated team are here to guide and help you through the whole process, from start to finish.

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