Office trends come and go, with the main focus of office design being eco-friendliness and building sustainability in recent years. More of the newer constructed buildings and offices take environmental consciousness much more seriously over the past decades.
However, with the pandemic, offices may need to be “pandemic-proofed” to ensure the safety of everyone that visits the office. With this situation, we need to learn how to adapt the office design to achieve both priorities – sustainability and safety. Here are some ways modern offices can achieve this.
Cut Down On Single-Use Items
While COVID-19 has led to a decrease in pollution from vehicular gases, there has been an increase in waste from single-use items such as masks and wipes. While these are necessary for our safety, it is possible to cut back on the negative environmental impact such items inflict on the earth. A simple way to do so is to encourage the use of more reusable items.
Scientists around the world have agreed that using reusable lunchboxes are safe even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having lunches packed in reusable containers could, in fact, be deemed more sanitary compared to single-use plastic containers. So when we are going out for lunch, bring along a reusable container with you.
Companies can do their part to encourage reusable items by offering them to employees, such as tumblers or reusable lunchboxes. You could even go the extra mile to encourage employees to prepare their lunches before coming to the office rather than relying on convenience store lunches.
As part of the current safety measures, offices must include sanitary features such as alcohol wipes and hand sanitisers on each desk. Touch-free surfaces and contactless enter and exit processes are no longer deemed a good-to-have but a must-have.
Communal spaces such as the office pantry are known to have higher footfall. As such, furnished office spaces could have dedicated hydrating and recharging stations placed strategically throughout the office rather than just in one area; minimising queues and accidental gatherings.
Besides the above, offices are also being redesigned to allow employees to work safely from one another. No longer will you see offices with elbow-to-elbow seating that is commonly seen in startup office spaces to encourage collaboration. Desks will be placed further apart, some even including translucent partitions. With this design, you can minimise contact between employees while maintaining the clean elegance that most offices strive to achieve.
Bring In Some Greenery
Research has also demonstrated that with greener office spaces, employees tend to be happier and healthier. Adding greenery in plants and office shrubbery could improve the indoor environmental air quality (IEQ), which has proven to reduce absenteeism due to respiratory conditions such as asthma. Working in a space that has higher IEQ can also increase work productivity by up to 16%.
Installing indoor plants in the office space brings a calming effect to a cold office space. Having ample natural lighting, art and décor, background music and greenery also evoke associations with the outdoors. Subconsciously, we might feel a little less stressed and more ready to tackle the challenges ahead.
Battling the COVID-19 virus does not give us an excuse to stop improving our workspaces. This is an exciting opportunity for businesses to invest in an office that doesn’t just boost productivity but also strengthen their company culture and growth. It might seem like a lot at first, but taking small steps can go a long way.
At Greenhub Singapore, we offer a variety of serviced offices for rent that are both safe and sustainable. With a focus on bringing the natural beauty of nature into workspaces, we provide fully-equipped offices that reduce the environmental impact of modern offices while keeping your employees well-being in mind.