How to Plan for a Health-Conscious Return to Work
From our partners at HON.com
We understand that the way you work is changing every day, and you most likely aren’t able to meet in person with your team right now. We hope this information serves as a look toward the future. Our team at HON is here to support you through the transitions and look forward to when you’re all back in the office and collaborating together.
Work-from-home arrangements were made almost overnight as the pandemic forced the implementation of stay-home orders, and a country that has seen steady growth in remote work suddenly saw the majority of its workforce in a nontraditional office setting.
While the transition was sudden, American businesses and workers have risen to the occasion. Video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Google Meet have become household names, and many companies are now strongly considering regular work-from-home policies as a result. From a trying situation has come a revelation in the way we work, and how it might look going forward.
As signs of a curve flattening in many states emerge, elected officials are rolling out plans to get employees back to work— or simply back to the office.
Preparing for a New Normal
While we don’t know for certain what work and office environments will look like in three weeks or three months, we do know they will look different. And the new dynamic could feature more permanent changes designed to support health and well-being of employees.
Experts agree that making employees feel safe and comfortable about being in the office should be at the forefront of every decision-maker’s mind as workers across the country get ready to return.
“The biggest thing that companies are focusing on is the mental and physical well-being of their workers,” said Holli Renaud, Account Merchandising Manager for The HON Company. “Employees need to mentally feel good about coming into the office, and that translates into some of the physical things companies are doing to promote that comfortability.
“It’s going to be about space, cleaning and separation between workstations and in common areas, too. That’s how a lot of people are thinking about this situation as they prepare for this change.”
The changes required won’t all be easy, though.
Finding a happy medium between appropriate spacing and a people-focused environment is the task facing companies now. Companies may be trying to juggle the open workplace and collaborative areas with options that can be conducive to social distancing.
“How do we incorporate those elements into the working environment? How do we make sure we continue to build a workplace that people want to work in, while also being able to maintain social distancing? These are key considerations for companies as they look to reopen,” said Jim Foster, Vice President & General Manager Merchandising & National Accounts at The HON Company.
Creative, Healthy Solutions for Your Office
HON is here to help businesses with these very issues. That’s why we’ve been hard at work developing products that ensure the health and safety of workers.
Abound, Accelerate, and Verse panels are available in cleanable vinyl or laminate options to help prevent the spread of germs within individual workstations. Glass stack-ons can be added to many installations to increase the panel height, while still letting in natural light.
Mobile and freestanding screens provide a sense of safety and privacy to all workers, yet don’t inhibit collaboration. Plus, HON’s soft seating can be upholstered in cleanable fabrics and is easily reconfigured, allowing teams to feel “together” while practicing safe social distancing.
Traditional teaming stations are changing. HON solutions, including Empower benching and shared fabric screens, now feature higher panels and privacy screens with cleanable fabrics, so workers can feel safe and comfortable in their workspaces.
“We should be thinking about flexibility, because there are a lot of unknowns right now,” Foster said. “Companies know they need to introduce some of these things like screens and barriers, but we hope to provide a plan to get things moving. Day 1 might not look like Day 30, so we want to deliver flexibility and different options.”
For a complete list of products and solutions in HON’s Healthy Workplace program, visit hon.com.