After weeks of working in home offices (some formal and some make-shift!), managing hectic family schedules and balancing the new work/home dynamic, many employees are eager to get back to the office.
It’s tempting to want to do this quickly; take a few immediate steps to mark off 6-feet distancing in key areas, provide disinfectant wipes and open your doors. However, we know that approach isn’t enough to ensure the health and safety of employees at this time.
As a professional architect, I’m trained to think about the physical workspace and building layout. As a team leader, I’m thinking about the physical and mental well-being of my multiple direct reports and fellow Rochester-office employees. It’s important that we balance both to show employees we’re truly putting their health and safety first as we consider a reentry to our offices.
This requires a well-thought out plan that can be acted upon methodically but quickly. Together, with our workplace design, engineering and health & safety experts, we’ve identified three key phases:
Phase 1: Supporting our people as they return
We need to take steps that help our people feel safe, valued, healthy and empowered – foundational elements of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Phase 2: Getting our office spaces and buildings systems people-ready
Our workspaces and buildings won’t feel the same in the immediate future and we need to adjust for that, making changes to spaces to to support basic health & safety, while understanding mechanical system needs for optimal performance.
Phase 3: Making long-term modifications workplace resiliency
No one knows for sure what “working in the office” will look like long-term. We need to design spaces to be resilient and responsive to changing needs and situations.
We’re actively implementing these steps for our own team across Bergmann’s 15 office locations and know that our employees view this methodical approach as our way of saying “we care and want you to be safe”.