Here's how you can adapt key areas of your office to increase social distancing and minimise the risk of any of your staff catching or passing on the virus.

Your office reception

  • This is going to be the first encounter many staff and potential visitors will have of your office's new COVID-19 policy. It's important to set the correct tone and from the outset. Here's how you can adapt your reception space for COVID-19.

    • Provide hand santiser
    • Develop clear and concise signage for:
      • Entry and exit routes
      • High-usage areas and corridors
      • Person limits in smaller spaces
    • Install plexiglass screens at reception or areas where visitors frequently visit or check-in
    • Remove or cordon off seating to promote a two-metre distance
    • Remove magazines and other items guests could touch while waiting at reception

Desks and workstations

  • This is the area of your office that staff spend most of their time and are going to be most familiar with. It will be strange at first, but this is also where the most COVID-19 adjustments are going to take place as you scale back your office's capacity.

    This will be one area where 'muscle memory' will kick-in for your employees, so you need to ensure they don't revert back to 'normal' habits.

    • Reduce the number of desks based on your space plan
    • Ensure any occupied workstations are two meters apart
    • Place stickers or notices on workstations that aren't to be used
    • Consider plexi-glass screens around each workstation
    • Have sanitiser and cleaning equipment readily available
    • Re-orientate parallel furniture (such as sofas) so they aren't facing each other
    • Stickers with reminders of distancing policy and capacity limits.

Meeting rooms

  • Most of your meeting rooms will need capacity adjustments to comply with social distancing rules and adequate signage to help staff company.

    • Reduce meeting room capacity so there is one person per 4 square meters
    • Remove excess chairs and evenly spread out remaining chairs
    • Remove shared or communal items, such as pens
    • Provide cleaning materials and sanitiser
    • Consider posters or stickers to remind teams of social distancing and sanitation
    • Ensure rooms are cleaned thoroughly after each meeting has taken place

Private booths, pods and high-backed sofas

  • These are usually small and more confined spaces, often with fabric that could easily hold on to germs for longer than other surfaces.

    • Repurpose two-seater pods or high-backed sofas to single-use only
    • Ensure your booking policy around these areas is clear and communicated
    • Have cleaning materials and sanitiser available
    • Ensure the space is cleaned thoroughly after each use

Breakout spaces and kitchens

  • Used for downtime, lunchtime and often casual meetings, these spaces are going to be heavily impacted.

    • Ensure furniture is only available for the correct capacity limits
    • Discourage people from dwelling longer than needed
    • Remove communal fresh fruit
    • Remove communal utensils
    • Remove excess furniture that doesn't comply with your capacity limits or distancing rules
    • Provide signage about who should use the space, and when they can enter
    • Provide cleaning materials and sanitiser

Walkways, thoroughfares and high-traffic hallways

  • These are spaces that most people in your office will use on their way to other areas, so it's important to ensure they don't become crowded. However, since they are high-usage, they're great places to remind staff and visitors of your policies.

    • Implement one-way corridors where possible
    • Use floor markers to remind staff of social distancing
    • Mark out 'waiting' areas in stairwells to avoid bottlenecks in narrow spaces
    • Check compliance with building and fire regulations

Cleaning and sanitising your space

  • Just like washing our hands for 30 seconds, regular and thorough cleaning of your office space is crucial to reducing the spread of the virus.

    • Review when normal cleans are undertaken
    • Focus cleaning on areas and spaces that are regularly in-use
    • Establish a protocol for when a deep clean is required
    • Develop signs/posters to reinforce DIY cleaning and the use of sanitiser

If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you should refer to the specific HM Government guidance