Many businesses at present are considering what comes after lockdown and what the new normal office looks like. As the Midlands leading independent office agency business, KWB has been working hard over the last few weeks to keep abreast of current developments and their impact on the regional office market.
KWB Workplace, the workplace consultancy arm of KWB, has been dealing with numerous requests for advice from clients, on how they should respond and adapt their existing office layouts into what may become the ‘new normal’.
Adrian Southall, Director of KWB Workplace, says: “We have been committed to interpreting the various and often conflicting advice from news reports, media and marketing information received. We have often found this to be contradictory and without official endorsement or scientific foundation.
“On Monday afternoon, the Government published their official guidance on the Gov.uk website. Over the course of this week, it has become apparent from the clients we are already in dialogue with, just how many companies are unaware of these documents, and the useful information they contain.”
If you have not already viewed the guidance, please click here.
Adrian Southall has reviewed the advice, and believes employers should consider two fundamental questions.
Do they want to:
a) Implement a temporary solution to make their office compliant on a short-term basis until restrictions are lifted?
b) Completely re-think how their office operates?
“Neither route will be right or wrong for every business and each should consider carefully their own circumstances, future direction and what is right for them”, he says.
“In our capacity as independent workplace consultants, we have received many product marketing emails over the past weeks, each offering solutions to a perceived problem in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some have been excellent, but others – in light of the official guidance now published – now appear somewhat inadequate, or extreme.”
Design trends over the last 10 years have, of course, redefined workplaces and the way they work. Introducing products that encourage teamworking, communication and collaboration.
However, Adrian believes the work settings that have been created are, in many instances, contrary to the way in which we are told we must now work, in order to be ‘COVID-19 compliant’.
“That is not to say that the initial advice was wrong, but many employers find themselves with the dilemma of what to do with these products and the space they currently occupy,” he says.
“We have seen suggestions that these should be removed to make way for more desking, allowing greater spacing between each person. However, the more responsible manufacturers are already working on the development of innovative solutions to adapt and re-purpose these items.
“Our advice is that, before companies reach for their cheque books, they should first answer the fundamental questions above. Think long and hard about which route they want to take, and how relevant any individual solution or product offering is for their particular business, circumstances and vision for the future.”
Adrian and his design team are already implementing solutions for existing clients in line with these guidelines. For more information, or assistance on implementing new working practices, please contact Adrian, on 0121 212 5985 or email email@example.com.