At Rockford Construction, safety always has been a critical aspect of our work. However, even at a company with an ingrained safety culture like ours, the COVID-19 pandemic has made us think about our world in entirely new ways.
Public spaces are now only ventured into sparingly, except by essential workers, and personal protective equipment has become routine outside our homes. For many of us, our worlds have become considerably smaller.
While we eagerly anticipate “normal” activities, such as returning to office life, we do know that when the time comes, it will be different. Most workplaces weren’t designed to cope with life during a pandemic, and this upside-down way of living has given us a new perspective on office layouts.
As we take proactive steps to return to the workplace, the focus to create healthier environments with reduced opportunities to transmit germs and viruses is at the forefront of our planning.
How can companies prepare and enforce design to support a healthy environment and combat disease in a whole new way? At Rockford, we have had intensive discussions about how to keep employees, partners and clients safe as stay-at-home orders expire around the country.
From a focus on low-touch, high-sense technologies, to clean lines reducing interactions, to clean workspaces, we’ve been strategizing regularly about transitioning from the home to the office or worksite safely.
As builders and designers, we are accustomed to embracing solutions that leverage our knowledge and experience to provide safeguards for workers, building users and inhabitants. Here are ways we are actively working to achieve a healthy and safe work environment — at Rockford and for our clients:
- Ensure workstations are spaced to allow for social distancing
- Look at ways to improve HVAC systems to improve ventilation, air quality and air filtration systems
- Offer touchless capabilities in kitchen areas, drinking fountains and bathrooms from doors and faucets to soap and paper dispensers
- Ensure environmentally friendly and effective cleaning practices
- Provide appropriate PPE for everyone
- Ensure gathering spaces are large enough to support the number of attendees
- Minimize entrance points to support required health checks and daily sign-in for employees and guests
- Maximize technology to support virtual meetings and connectivity
As we return to the workplace, we all need to be proactive in creating healthier environments that require reduced contact and interactions that could transmit germs and viruses.
This will be a drastic change from “business as usual.” But as these tactics become more and more a part of our everyday routines, they won’t seem out of place.