COVID-19 and office remodeling

COVID-19 and office remodeling

Six things to a healthier workplace

By Scott Hamele, DBIA President and founder of Construction DesignWorks, LLC and Nationwide Commercial Inspections, LLC

A couple months ago we didn’t know what COVID-19 or coronavirus was. Now we can’t go five minutes without hearing about it. It’s on tv, radio, social media and at our dining room table. Over 25% of us in the United States are working from home. However, at some point this will all be over, and we will be back at work. The new normal will look different than a few months ago, especially in public. My hope is the new normal will be a cleaner, safer place to live and work. People will wash their hands more often and more thoroughly. We may not be continuing to stand six feet away from each other, but my guess is we will be keeping our distance a bit more.

I have given it some thought on things we can do that will make our workplace safer in the future. Safer from catching a cold from each other. Safer from passing on the flu. And God forbid another episode of a virus we can’t cure. Office remodeling as well as all forms of commercial construction and renovations should be open to new ideas that will keep us all healthier. This is not only good for the employees but for business production.

Office remodeling ideas for a healthier workplace

Air filtration system

Install a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system in a work space to drastically reduce allergy-aggravating contaminants which includes some of the smallest particles and bacteria. These units have a three-stage filtration system. A prefilter captures large dirt and dust particles. Then a HEPA filter captures nearly all remaining particles and germs. The last stage is a charcoal filter that removes odors and chemical vapors. Learn more about these types and sizes of systems by visiting Lennox.
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Hand sanitation stations

Adding hand sanitation stations at your main entry as well as outside your restrooms and in your break room is an easy way to entice employees and visitors to keep their hands germ free. Leaving hand sanitation bottles around might not be such a good idea as they may disappear over time. Installing a 1200 ml automatic foam gel station is money well spent. Click here to purchase.
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Hands-free door opener

A very inexpensive way of opening a door without touching it is a hands-free door opener. We’ve all seen them in the Home Depot restrooms. We’ve just washed and dried our hands and now want to leave the restroom and don’t want to touch the door handle. Look down and use the foot pull. They run around $25 each. Click here for a link to purchase.
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Protective sneeze guards

You are used to seeing sneeze guards at buffet lines to protect the food from germs. However, you are now seeing them in grocery check out lines throughout the country to add another layer of protection between people to minimize the spread of germs. I foresee these being more prevalent in retail check out counters and office receptions. They aren’t that expensive and worth the extra layer of safety. Click here for a link to purchase.
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Electric hand dryers

While most businesses utilize manual paper towel dispensers, some have electric hand dryers. Hands free is a definite step up from the wasteful use of paper products, but may be not enough to help protect against germs. We are inclined to error on the side of caution and spend a few extra dollars for products such as the Dyson Airblade dB. It is a fast hygienic hands free dryer with a HEPA sealed filter. Click here to purchase.