June 25, 2020

Covid-19 Safety for Offices and Contact Centres

With businesses in the process of planning how they will reopen their offices and what practical steps can be taken to provide a safe environment for their employees, this short article provides some suggestions that we hope you will find useful.

Under the section offices and contact centres on the UK Government’s website, the guidelines for businesses are available on working safely during Coronavirus (Covid-19)- see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres#offices-3-3 for the full information. The document does emphasize ‘that each business will need to translate this into specific actions it needs to take, depending on the nature of the business, including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated.’ And refers to ‘taking reasonable and practical steps and advises ‘you must maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible.’

Space Planning and Office Layout

There is a lot to think about and Whiteleys can assist as you go through this process. One of the first steps is to carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment and then determine what desk space and office layout will be needed to enable people to work further apart from each other. Individual desks can of course be easily moved. Where there are bench desks these are less practical to move, but it may still be possible. Where you need advice with layout and space planning we are here to help. Perhaps you need existing furniture to be rearranged. Again with our in-house installation team we are here to help with.

The screen in the image simply mounts to an existing desk through right-angled brackets. Available up to 1100mm height.

Desk Screening

Where it is not possible for people to work sufficient distance apart, transmission risk can be managed through the use of screens. It maybe possible to attach screen toppers to existing desk screens, thereby providing a simpler and more cost effective way of raising the height of existing screens. We will probably need a photo of what you have in place in order to assess this. Where there are no existing screens we can simply attach screens to the desking. Ranging from around 600 to around 1100mm from the desk surface there is plenty to choice from. These are easily-to-clean, non-absorbent acrylic screen surfaces that are easy to wipe down.

Social Distancing on Arrival and Departure

One of the key requirements is to maintain social distancing on arrival and departure. If you decide to provides shielding screens on the reception desk, we can install acrylic screens that mount directly on the desk. Even where there is a curved desk with a return, please do speak to us with regards to the options available.

Where required, desktop screens can be installed on reception desks.

Free-Standing Floor Screens

In addition to desk mounted screens and panels around desks, there are a variety of floor standing screens. These are available in different heights and widths and provide some sound-proofing. These can be used to create screening areas within the office, or as screening for electric height adjustable desks.

Panels

Panels are another option for screening to provide more individual area in the open plan office. They add privacy to each cluster or individual desk, while promoting a generally quieter working environment where employees can still communicate with each other whenever they choose.

The Government’s website states the objective of maintaining social distancing wherever possible, on arrival and departure and to ensure handwashing upon arrival. They suggest steps such as staggering arrival and departure times at work to reduce crowding into and out of the workplace. As part of this (amongst other things) these steps are suggested:-

  • Providing more storage for workers for clothes and bags.
  • Using markings and introducing one-way flow at entry and exit points.
  • Providing handwashing facilities, or hand sanitiser where not possible, at entry and exit points and not using touch-based security devices such as keypads.
  • Using mark areas to help workers keep to a 2m distance.

The below steel lockers are ideal for employee storage and bags. Available in a range of colours and options.

Hand Sanitiser and Signage

We can provide a range of hand sanitiser and signage options. Please discuss your requirements and we will review the options.

Summary

Whether you need space planning, your office re-planned in a new lay-out, shielding screens on office desks or reception desks, please do contact us. In addition we can provide signage and hand sanitiser. When needed, Whiteleys provides a complete project management service. Why not contact one of our friendly account managers to discuss your requirements.

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