Return To Work
Employee health and safety
Thought Leader Forum: Employers guide to mental health during a pandemic
During a discussion on Aug. 13, the Puget Sound Business Journal spoke with a group of mental and public health experts about what this pandemic has meant for mental and behavioral health, and what employers can expect in the coming months and years. Monitoring a remote workforce, looking for ways to stay connected and engaged and reduce stress are primary areas of focus. It’s clear that this pandemic is a marathon and not a sprint. How is that affecting people’s mental and behavioral health, and what should employers be doing to help?
From Disruption to Silver Linings
Tech companies have the opportunity to help property owners determine how to create and maintain safer spaces for the public. This includes how buildings are designed, constructed and maintained on a daily basis. Data and insights will become increasingly important, and the rise of IoT solutions and other smart building technology will likely accelerate to monitor safety compliance.
What You Need to Know About the Unassigned Experience
For many people working in offices, freedom from the confines of an assigned desk feels like a no brainer. For organizations, ditching traditional seat assignments makes it easy to adapt when the company grows or shrinks and reduces real estate costs. Is an unassigned work strategy right for your office as your company returns to the workplace?
The Revived Public Space
IA Interior Architects’ workplace strategists realized that conversations about how the visitor, tenant, and employee experience will change in the post-COVID-19 world only scratch the surface. Ultimately, what may work in some public-facing spaces may not work in others. Inspired by that challenge, IA partnered with landlords, developers, and others to create a holistic roadmap that re-imagines a safer, more comfortable, and healthier user experience in large, complex areas. With this group of tools, IA is able to offer landlords and large occupiers a new layer of assurance as they create and work through return strategies for their facilities.
IA Interior Architects
Liability concerns to consider when reopening your business
The most important thing is to make sure your company is complying with safety regulations set by your industry as part of your reopening plan. Reopening plans should be put in writing, and should be in place well before a company reopens. This helps ensure employers are prepared for if and when a Covid case arises in the workplace and to minimize infection among co-workers and clients. Knowing that everyone who has returned to work has read and acknowledged the rules could help all employees feel a little safer.
Managing Furniture For Adapting Workplaces
There is a lot to consider as employees begin to return to offices that will be different from the ones they occupied before COVID-19. These few tips can serve as a guide to help as you start to navigate this process. While plans and needs may differ depending on your company’s location, number of staff, and line of work, considering these recommendations can help you make temporary or more permanent decisions that will positively impact the comfort level and safety of your employees.
Furniture designer Ethan Pearl on the future office and how COVID rearranges it all
COVID-19 has proven that we can no longer design for density above all other consideration. We must give people the space they need to feel comfortable and to be safe in the office. And while the pandemic may have proven that many of us don’t need to be in the office to do our work, there is still a good reason to get back.
Taking the Office Outside
As employees begin returning to the office in parts of the world, organizations are implementing a wide range of measures to help create safe workplaces. Leading companies have been experimenting with outdoor work environments to increase employee engagement and improve attraction and retention, but now they’re even more important to help employees work from the office again. Here are some tips for designing outdoor workspaces that are safe, creative and compelling.
How Do You Redefine and Create a New Rhythm of Life?
Workplace stress has a significant impact on health and productivity in normal times — but it has become a larger challenge in the current climate. Grounded in neuroscience research from Dr. John Medina as part of the NBBJ Fellowship Program, this post explores ideas on how to elevate workplace experience. Three of these concepts —Paths, Hubs and Nooks— provide people with opportunities to recharge and engage, promoting a new, more uplifting workday experience.
How one general contractor is innovating and adding value in a post-pandemic landscape
As companies bring workers back into the office with Covid-19-related restrictions easing, many are making big changes to their buildings to keep workers safe and productive. In a post-pandemic world, it will be more important for the general contractor to be a client’s business partner for their real estate decisions.
Ups and Downs of Reopening
Reopening offices won’t be as easy as unlocking the front door. Property managers face a host of challenges before the workers return. The pandemic has “created a bunch of new challenges” for the property management industry, and elevators, HVAC are just a few of them. WHEN workers return is the elephant in the room.
Risk Management Plan for Buildings
A seven-step risk management plan is available to assist architects and clients when re-occupying buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the plan assists with assessing hazards, applying architectural or engineering strategies, and reducing risk. It uses an evidence-based design approach, documents design decisions, and functions as a repository for coordinated work with building owners. Follow the steps below and use the worksheets provided to develop and document the risk management plan. The plan should be regularly reviewed, updated, and documented through all stages of design, construction, and post-occupancy to ensure expectations are met.
Designing Safe, Compelling Shared Spaces To Rekindle Our Love For The Office
After months of working from home, most people say they want to go back to the workplace in some way or another. Going forward the workplace has to be safe and, at the same time, it can not lose what makes it a compelling destination where people want to work. Designing high performing, inspiring and safe shared spaces will benefit both employees and organizations because these are the spaces that spur productivity and fuel innovation.
COVID-19 drives demand for flexibility and more meaningful office connections
As the coronavirus pandemic has forced many to work remotely, professionals see their relationship with the office changing after COVID-19. A survey of 1,000+ U.S. office workers discovered a workforce fully embracing the flexibility remote work offers and rethinking the value of going back to the office. That’s not to say people don’t plan to head back to the office. They do. Overwhelmingly, professionals view the office as a critical place to meaningfully connect with colleagues.
Returning to the Office in the Time of COVID-19
The data says we won’t be at home forever. Explore the research about how workplaces and home offices will need to adapt in the future. Workers desire and leaders expect to return to the office. An ecosystem of places can provide people with more choices for where they work. Organizations are starting to consider adding alternative or satellite locations to offer more options. Changes will need to be made to the workplace and despite more people working from home, leaders expect their real estate footprint to increase or stay the same.
The Evolved Office of the Future
As Washington State businesses plan for an eventual return to the office, the consistent question remains, “What will we return to?” Gensler is working closely with their clients, and for themselves, to address this new normal and preparing for both the near-term transition back into their offices and workspaces and what that will look like over the next several year
The Future Workplace Will Embrace a Hybrid Reality
As a result of COVID-19, the workplace will be forever changed. We won’t step back in time, simply “returning” to our former offices. Instead, we will be moving forward to a new place. It might look similar in many ways, but it’s going to be modified in strategic ways, incorporating new practices, new protocols, and new technologies. So why do employees want to return to the office? Most people want the social connection of being with their peers. This all begs for a change in how office buildings and the workplace functions. What will the new hybrid workplace look like?
Returning to Our Offices. Slowly and Safely.
A downloadable guide on reopening procedures to ensure the safety of your employees, the Auth0 "Back to Office" plan ensures that when offices open up, employees have clear guidelines on re-entry. Offices have all been redesigned and reconfigured to accommodate social distancing guidelines and safety precautions to minimize risk as much as possible. In adopting our guidelines, we complied with local laws and organizations, such as WHO, and the CDC.
10 Renovations To Consider Before Reopening Your Office
This summer, as offices are starting to reopen across the country, many companies are considering all their options to make a safe and healthy return to work for employees. Regardless of whether your company is heading back into the office ASAP or still managing a remote workforce, there’s still time to make updates with no or little disruption to your return-to-work timeline. Here are 10 recommended office updates to support a healthy return to work.
As America Struggles to Reopen Schools and Offices, How to Clean Coronavirus From the Air
As Americans contemplate returning to schools, offices and other indoor spaces, building managers are figuring out how to reopen safely and prevent infection.
The Washington Post
The Case for Place and the Need to Get It Right
As economies begin to reopen, CEOs are starting to think about how work will change as a result of what we’ve experienced and learned. The ways we need to compete are different now and a return to business as usual is not what organizations and employees will need as we enter one of the most volatile and complex business climates in recent history. To succeed, organizations will need to be highly adaptable, and able to respond and adjust quickly to changing conditions now and in the future.
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Strategies for Safer Offices
As employers consider reopening offices, AIA has issued a new report detailing strategies that can reduce risk in the workplace. “Reopening America: Strategies for Safer Buildings,” is intended to provide design professionals, employers, building owners, and public officials with tools and resources.
U.S. Work From Home Survey 2020
The dramatic shift toward working from home has crystallized the reasons why we come into the office. When asked about the most important reasons to come into the office, respondents overwhelmingly chose activities focused on people and community, including scheduled meetings, socializing, and face-to-face time. What we know now is that the overwhelming majority of people want to return to the office. New findings from the Gensler Research Institute can guide strategies on a successful return.
How to Re-occupy a Building and Return HVAC to Normal
Is your business moving back into offices this week? You probably won’t have to airlift your HVAC unit back into place, but Development Services and ASHRAE have tips to get your HVAC safely back in operation.
City of Bellevue and Ashrae
Restarting America: Getting Back to Work Safely
Organizations have met the immediate challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak. Now’s the time for employers to plan a safe return to work. As quarantine measures begin to ease, companies know it’s vital to begin reopening their doors to bring their employees back to the workplace. Here you’ll find resources that can help your organization implement a safe and effective return-to-work program.
Toolkit for Reopening the Office and Getting Back to Work
This comprehensive toolkit, a joint project led by Madrona alongside the Seattle Venture Community, Leading Tech, Retail and Aerospace Companies in the Region and the Seattle Metropolitan and Bellevue Chambers of Commerce has all the resources you will need to plan your return to the workplace.
Madrona Joint Venture
Return with Confidence, Assessment and Action Plan
Are your facilities ready to safely re-open? Buildings are sitting empty or operating at limited capacity and have been for some time. Reopening requires specific procedures to ensure the health and safety of all occupants. Return with confidence with an assessment and action plan.
Your Return to Workplace Resource Center
From free template sets and resources to support the safe return of your employees to the workplace, this guide has info on Planning Your Return, Preparing the Workspace, Readying Your Workforce, and a Toolkit for Reopening the Office.
Reopening in a New Environment
Among the many challenges facing real estate owners and operators today, and perhaps the most relevant at the moment, is how building operations teams prepare to reopen properties, especially taking into account the complexity of higher density properties like office buildings and hotels. It is important to fully understand the complex relationships between building systems and develop a plan to proceed through the reopening process in an effective manner.
The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them
Professor Erin Bromage is a Comparative Immunologist and Professor of Biology at Dartmouth. Here is her look at how to guide people away from situations of high risk as the country begins to reopen. Knowing where and how and people get sick can help us understand the personal dangers of reopening, such as enclosed spaces with poor air circulation and high density environments.
A Hierarchy of Needs
As we navigate this time of uncertainty, organizations and communities will be looking for guidance and direction on how to return to a connected and social life. From health and wellness and safety and security, to promoting our human connection, this outline presents a hierarchical guide developed to prepare organizations to reopen their doors and address the concerns, needs, and hopes for their employees in a "new normal" work environment.
What Makes an Office Building “Healthy”
History tells us that buildings play a central role in the spread of disease. But, as much as buildings can spread disease, if operated smartly, they can also help us fight against it. Amidst the chaos, one thing is clear: we will all go back to work with new expectations about the buildings where we live, learn, work, and play.
Harvard Business Review
Return to the Workplace: The Numerous and Nuanced Decisions for Employers
The focus of the most recent survey by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), is a look at how employers plan to navigate returning employees to the workplace. The survey explores the many nuances of this undertaking, such as the high-level guidelines provided by governors, as well as other concerns and considerations.
Considerations for Returning to a Healthy Workplace
After a major disruption that affects work and life, getting back to the office requires an intentional strategy to assure employees feel they are safe and can remain healthy in their environment. Here are some tips to ease your employees back to the workplace and give them confidence in their work environment.
10 Considerations for Transitioning Back to Work
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, here are a few considerations, tools, and methodologies that may help guide other organizations who are challenged with the logistics of planning and implementing new ways of working that balance business continuity with employee safety — now, and in the months to come.
Design Responds to a Changing World
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed everything. Its impact on global wellness and the economy has forced organizations in every industry to flex and evolve, both in real-time and in the long-term. This collection of ideas, tips, thoughts, and strategies explores how design can play a role in making the world a healthier place.
Compliance with government requirements
CDC Employer Information for Office Buildings
Office building employers, building owners and managers, and building operations specialists can take steps to create a safe and healthy workplace and protect workers and clients.
Center for Disease Control
CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, May 2020
This interim guidance contains updated strategies and recommendations for employers responding to COVID-19, including those seeking to resume normal or phased business operations, including health checks, workplace hazard assessment, policies and procedures to implement for social distancing and improving ventilation systems.
Center for Disease Control
Safe Start Washington: Phased Reopening County-by-County
Governor Jay Inslee, in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Health, has established the following data-driven approach to reopen Washington and modify physical distancing measures while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19. Washington will move through the phased reopening county-by-county allowing for flexibility and local control to address COVID-19 activity geographically.
State of Washington
Office utilization prior to vaccine or herd immunity
The Role Of Workplace Analytics In Finding The Real Value Of The Office
There’s no question that the workplace will never quite be the same again, but workplace analytics demonstrate how the office impacts productivity, workforce effectiveness, and employee engagement. It is now possible to understand which aspects of the office contribute to goal achievement, collaboration and innovation, and which aspects are merely relics of the past. This article answers the following questions: In the future, how will EMPLOYEES utilize the workplace? How does LEADERSHIP want employees to utilize the space? How will the new workplace affect COLLABORATION? As we continue to collect information on the value of the office, leveraging analytics, it will be key to augment our instinct about how to improve the workplace and employee experience, wherever teams may be.
The Purpose of Place: Redefining the Future of Work
The shift in how we work requires different skills and behaviors, new corporate policies, willingness to learn and adapt work processes and the latest technology tools. There has been much written recently about how to return staff to the physical workplace and a reevaluation of the value of place is needed. To really understand how best to return to a physical workplace, a more strategic view, grounded in the mission, vision and values of an organization is necessary.
Space Planning Assessment
Here you'll find resources and information to help guide the return to work process, including space planning and assessments needed.
Nelson Sparc Architects
Return to Work Overview
An integrated workspace solution, from hand sanitizing stations to full office design, this offers workplace solutions that can help businesses with their needs for the short and the long term.
How Workplaces Will be Transformed
Much of what the next few months will bring is still unknown, but employers are beginning to consider what the return to the workplace will look like. Though some anticipate remote working arrangements to become standard, most organizations must create a plan for employees to return to office spaces—and make changes to their form and function to keep everyone safe. Here is what organizations and communicators must consider when reinventing their workplaces in response to COVID-19.
Death of the Office
A historical and philosophical look at what the office has been over the years. Now that we are all working from home, we are realizing that the pretense of an orderly life at the office is also a liberation. It allows each day to have its own architecture, its rhythms of departure and arrival. Humans need offices. Because what moves us is not sitting at our computer, it’s the relationship that we have with people.
The Pandemic May Mean the End of the Open-Floor Office
The conversation about how to reconfigure the American workplace is taking place throughout the business world. The question is whether any of the changes being contemplated will actually result in safer workplaces.
New York Times
A Changed World: What Happens When We Return to the Office?
On April 17th, 2020, IA met with industry experts to discuss this topic and share the results of IA's client survey during a live webinar panel discussion.
What Happens When We Return to the Workplace?
We know that a well-designed workplace is still the place that people want to be. However, before we can ask people to return to the office, we’ve got to make sure they feel safe, healthy, and valued in their workplace. This post is part of Gensler’s ongoing exploration of how design is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Future of Workplace
Together Again: The Future of Shared Spaces in the Office
Why do we miss the office? And will we still love it when we return? After months working apart, employees now say the main reason they want to come back to the office is to be with other people, socialize and collaborate in ways that just aren’t possible remotely. Now, these spaces that employees most enjoy must be adapted or created to not only enhance productivity but to ensure that the people using them can be safe and feel safe too.
Why Remote Work Is So Hard—and How It Can Be Fixed
As we enter the uncertain second phase of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s unclear when, or whether, knowledge workers will return to their offices. The question is whether we can solve the long-standing problems that have thwarted remote office work.
The New Yorker
The Future of Work Isn’t Fully Distributed or Remote
Understanding which trends emerging are short-term (fear subsiding) or systemic is paramount to the future of work and our cities. The most effective strategy for innovative work requires agility, flexibility and optionality for the work at hand.
Medium.com (Lisa Picard)
What Will Tomorrow’s Workplace Bring? More Elbow Room, for Starters
The pandemic may result in fundamental changes, altering how office buildings are designed. Stepped up cleaning, redesigned workspaces, new technologies and phased work shifts are options. Remote work may continue, but there will also be a higher value around spaces where workers come together.
New York Times
Navigating What’s Next for the Workplace
This comprehensive guide is designed to share strategies that can help organizations navigate the crisis and discusses how re-opening the economy will challenge every company to quickly regain productivity and competitiveness, without compromising health and safety.