Many people across the country have returned to their workplaces, but our offices are now dramatically different than they were at this time last year. COVID-19 has caused us all to shine a spotlight on health and safety, and our workplaces have all been affected as we strive to create and maintain hygienic environments for everyone. While we all know how important it is to frequently wash our hands and stay at least six feet away from others, architecture and design also play an important part in creating safer workplaces.
How has COVID-19 impacted design and architecture?
In the area of architecture, COVID’s impact is most keenly felt in the area of business interior design and space considerations. Seth Leeb Architecture has partnered with many local firms to help design and build these COVID aware spaces in a way that preserve workflow and design elements.
- One of our partners, office design company Business Environments in New Jersey, is a thought leader in the office design for health and safety space. Their approach uses new design, layout, and material protocols that encourage people in a shared workplace to easily adhere to social distancing guidelines and to support virus safety protocols such as temperature monitoring and contact tracing. It’s natural to want to congregate at work, especially during lunch breaks and coffee breaks in the common areas, but the 6 Feet Office uses physical markers like floor tiles to remind people to keep their distance.
- Employers must now think about redesigning communal spaces like kitchens, conference rooms, and cafeterias. While large spaces aren’t automatically out of the questions, it will require the help of a commercial architect to use furniture and other barriers to ensure people respect social distancing.
- Mental health is taking center stage at work. We’ve all cycled through a range of emotions throughout the pandemic, and many of us are feeling stressed, anxious, and unable to focus. Employers should create some private mental health spaces where staff can go to have a few minutes alone to relax, recharge, or meditate.
- A renewed focus on colors and lighting in the workplace. Many studies have shown that colors and lighting have an effect on how happy people feel, and during these challenging times when everyone is dealing with so much uncertainty, architects are making recommendations about how employers can incorporate these changes to create a more positive environment.
- Virus safe materials. Copper or copper infused surfaces used in office furniture, virus resistant fabrics and other new materials, make your office furniture a safer place to habitate and work.
Architectural design in a post-COVID world
The CDC has released its latest guidance for businesses and employers to keep staff safe at work, and while frequent deep cleanings and social distancing are always recommended, the architecture and design of your building can also impact the safety of the environment. Architects across the country are hard at work advising businesses on how to best utilize their spaces to promote health and safety, and going forward we’ll see a bigger emphasis on architecture and design to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
For more information about our commercial architects can help you design a safer workplace, or if you have any questions, please contact us today. Discover why so many people in New Jersey choose us as their trusted architect. We look forward to hearing from you.