The outbreak of the corona virus or COVID 19 has threatened the entire globe in terms of health and wealth – while the cases are on the rise constantly, the economy is charting an opposite course, day after day. Yet, the main challenge is to return to a world we could not have imagined two or three months ago, before the world went into lock down. Now, we are being urged to face this reality even as many countries are partially lifting lock down and some are easing the lock down restrictions. It is almost like we are transitioning into another generation where your amour is to mask your face and sanitize yourself before you head out, and as soon as you head back in. As we are battling to survive, WHO has voiced its biggest concern – to safeguard people and the spaces they thrive in, even as it continues to issue comprehensive technical guidance and advice to all countries on COVID 19. This term is now causing much concern for the global economy and it is nothing short of a worry considering the financial ups and downs that need soothing and stability. The major losses of finances were incurred due to the lockdowns all over to control the spread of the virus resulting in the collateral damage of the economy. Lockdowns, their extensions and shut downs were the only resource management the government could think of to stop the spread and get control. But this couldn’t hold long – the regulations have begun to ease and we need to support and strengthen ourselves to counter this and get life back on track without falling prey to the virus. And while on the subject, let us understand how we will now design spaces for better safety and how we will now make space for safety in our designs.
Major companies globally have temporarily suspended and reduced operations, shying away from mass production while others are going ahead with fewer working hours. Startups are also impacted by the new paucity of funds – further accentuated by less production and hence, less sales and less revenue. The governments of various nations are constantly coming up with a number of regulations to combat the effects caused by the virus threat, and introducing packages and funds to stabilize businesses and professionals. In addition to the financial recovery packages and measures, we also need a clear mandate and understanding to accommodate these remedies into our lifestyle. Our corporate and commercial sectors need to be revamped to get us working within a healthier and a safer working culture. The work front needs to acquire safer structures in keeping with these guidelines. Working within a confined zone needs to be appropriately designed to equip us with our greatest skill – productivity. Offices, places of worship, schools, shopping malls, are all influenced by the term SOCIAL DISTANCING. We need to alter our life by creating a safer space. A simple understanding change of lifestyle leads to innovative interiors.
The COVID 19 effect has got us staying indoors with all our interactions happening in our online communities. But we will go back to reality soon. And that time, our interiors need to imbibe features of a safer working space.
Let’s guide ourselves to these simple regulations with renewed ergonomic standards.
- Securing entrances with sanitizing sprays.
- Usually in corporate or office interiors when we place workstations, the space in between two stations is compensated by adding another adjacent table. In such cases, we need to cater to distancing tables to at least 1.5 meters.
- Wallpapers on open vertical surfaces which can be wiped down easily.
- Provisions to leave foot wear outside the premises and providing all entrants with another pair for indoor areas.
- Introducing glass screens in between work stations.
- Providing cubicles to 7’ height or chest level partitions to maintain distance with communication.
- Extensive use of waterproof materials and hard surfaces which are easy to disinfect at periodic intervals.
- Optimum use of lighting rather than going in for random general lighting with pedestal and pendant lighting.
- Water proof curtains to control circulation in aisles.
- Keeping the workstations self sufficient rather than moving in to common service areas.
- Floor coverings like carpets and rugs to be completely eradicated, as it can’t be disinfected periodically.
- Using roller blinds in PVC rather than curtains to cover windows.
- Auto sensing door closers to avoid touch by hand.
- Self close or soft close cabinets that can be automated.
- Automated switches and motion sensing lights to avoid switch board touch.
- No more board room meetings without screens before them, to ensure distance.
- Creating adequate places for hand sanitization.
- Micro managing noise with acoustics.
- Biodegradable and disposables for in house canteens.
- A functional ceiling with electric motion sensing equipment’s.
- Hand sanitizers and hand wash basins be an easy access.
- Common areas of toilets/restrooms lending additional space to washbasins and hand washes with stone partitions.
- To keep minimalistic interiors with to easy clean surfaces and allow the house keeping staff to keep tabs.
Adaptation of these few guidelines will help you work in a safer environment, where you need to attend work with ease and peace. Now would also be a good time to bring in the services of an interior designer who can help you design and adapt to such spaces with ease. Let’s tread carefully and safely to work, burying the threat of the virus.
So, now deals will get to closures without a handshake, and with a Namaste;
Businesses will have to prosper with social distancing;
And celebrate progress on a video chat.