Created on: 19th March 2020
Hygiene is at the front of everyone’s mind, so is it time to bring back cellular offices to help reduce the spread of bacteria and reduce sick leave in the office environment?
The open-plan office has been the popular choice for a while as it promotes a more collaborative way of working. It takes away doors and walls and allows staff to obtain feedback on projects quicker from colleagues. However, it also puts a lot of people working physically close to each other at a time where we are being reminded about the importance of space and being aware how germs, bacteria and infection are spread.
A cellular office provides boundaries which helps reduce the spread of infection and has proven to reduce absence due to sickness by up to a quarter. It promotes productivity due to a quieter environment and less distractions as well as additional privacy and can be tailored to each team or department’s requirements.
“Because of the ongoing pandemic, we are starting to see a shift in how people want to work,” said Stuart Wall, Lead Designer for commercial interior design and fit out business APSS. “Over the last few weeks, it has been drilled into everyone around the world the importance of hygiene and distance.
“People have started looking at how they can amend their office to provide that distance and create a safer environment which protects them from harmful bacteria and infections whilst not reducing the ability to collaborate.”
Create distance without wasting space
Currently, the advice is to stay around 2m away from each other - the estimated distance droplets from a cough or sneeze can travel. This means the focus of office layouts will change from having rows of desks in an open office environment to providing a more personal working environment for staff.
Stuart explained: “There are some quick and easy solutions to provide this space without losing crucial square footage unnecessarily. By rearranging your office, you can move storage items like cupboards to create a barrier between desks and allow for up to 2m between employees.
“Alternatively, if you have less space, you can easily introduce screens to individual desks to help reduce the spread of germs – almost like a sneeze guard.
“We still need to keep in contact with our customers, but this can be done with the installation of video conferencing booths rather than face to face meetings. These are easy to create in a small alcove in your office by using glass partitions or they can be bought as a stand-alone product.”
Cellular office designs can be implemented quickly and efficiently. Glass partition walls provide a good view of the full office and still allow for maximum natural light to penetrate throughout, whilst still protecting your staff.
“In addition to screens and smaller individual offices, there are special surfaces which have an antibacterial feature which kills germs on contact,” continued Stuart. “This material can be used to create a number of surfaces and storage, including desks. It can help to reduce the spread of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.”
If you want to talk about how you can amend your office to become more cellular and reduce sickness in the workplace, get in touch with a member of the APSS team today.
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