Using Cubicles and Dividers to Help Employees Feel Safe and Socially Distance during COVID
There are plenty of reasons why businesses use cubicles in their office spaces, not the least of which is providing employees with private space in which to get their work done, free of chatty co-workers or other distractions. However, cubicles have become a much more important addition to your office space in the wake of challenges presented by COVID-19. They provide a way to help employees maintain socially distancing guidelines and feel safe when returning to work.
Companies are going out of their way to create safe and healthy work environments by increasing cleaning and sanitization, adding hand sanitizer and wipes throughout the office, reducing high-touch surfaces, improving ventilation, instituting mask mandates, and more. However, with new worries about the coronavirus potentially spreading by airborne means, the addition of cubicles and dividers can not only curb the spread of particulates, but also put employees at ease. Why should you include these features as part of your office upgrades?
Add Physical Barriers
Proper ventilation, social distancing, hand-washing/sanitizing, and mask mandates go a long way toward stopping the spread of the coronavirus, but studies have shown that when people linger indoors, every exhalation can add to the amount of virus in the air. Proper air circulation and ventilation can help to draw contaminated air out and infuse fresh air into the environment, but you’ll still want to stop air from drifting between work stations.
This is where cubicles and dividers come in, creating physical barriers that stop and redirect air currents. With the right layout, you can not only maintain social distancing, but direct potentially contaminated air to vents, where it will be removed from the environment, rather than coming into contact with employees.
Many companies work to foster a family feeling in the workplace, encouraging camaraderie among teams and a general atmosphere of collaboration. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has made it downright dangerous for employees to fraternize as they once did. For the foreseeable future, your business will have to work to discourage not only water cooler talk, but employees popping their heads over cubicle walls to chat with the person at the next work station.
You might not like the idea of placing floor-to-ceiling barriers between cubicles, as this can make employees feel isolated and create a dark, depressing space. The good news is, there are plenty of options to engineer a bright, attractive work environment.
Modern, modular cubicles not only allow for a wide range of configurations, including spacious and ergonomic solutions, but you can choose panels in bright hues that stimulate the brain and boost morale. You can also select transparent panels that allow for unhindered light flow, and even let employees engage in non-verbal communication through panes (waving, smiling, and so on), so they still feel like they’re part of a team. With the right cubicles and dividers in place, you can design an office that still feels social, even as you keep employees safe and socially distanced.