What is your company doing to deal with COVID-19? Are you doing anything you think is unique or creative to support your workers, whether they are working remotely or from your facilities? Given our 20+ years of experience moving IT equipment and providing IT support for some of Silicon Valley’s largest companies, we have seen many creative and ingenious solutions to business problems. However, nothing compares to the challenges companies are going through, nor the creativity we are witnessing, as companies address today’s situation.
Given that everyone is pretty much in the same storm, we thought it might be helpful to share some of the more creative ideas we are seeing with all of you. Perhaps some of this information will help you solve a problem you are having in your own company. That is our hope. Since we have now seen several exciting ideas, we will be doing a series of these blog posts. We hope you like them.
If you are like many companies, you’ve been working for years to replace traditional office cubicles with open-concept seating plans designed to foster communication and collaboration. If you are a newer company, you may have gone open-concept seating right from the start. Unfortunately, in this era of pandemics, such openness can also foster the transmission of deadly viruses. In today’s era of social distancing, we have recently had conversations with several companies about something called the ‘Six Feet Office’ (note it is not a ‘Six Foot Office’) that at least theoretically mitigate that risk.
What Exactly Is a Six Feet Office?
Real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield has created a website on how to implement a Six Feet Office. They claim that they learned Six Feet Office concepts while helping thousands of companies in the 800 million square feet of office space they manage in China reopen following COVID-19. Also, they have built out their own offices in the Netherlands using Six Feet Office principles. Here is a link to Cushman and Wakefield’s Six Foot Office website.
(photo courtesy of Cushman and Wakefield)
The core concept is to rearrange your workstations, so workers are always at least six feet apart from one another. The Cushman and Wakefield concept also includes plastic sneeze guards between workspaces that are closer than six feet, floor markings to indicate six-foot boundaries, one-way traffic in all hallways, assigned sequential seating in conference rooms, and paper desk pads that workers replace daily.
All of these elements fit into the six primary components of the Six Feet Office as described on the Cushman and Wakefield site:
- 6 Feet Quick Scan – A concise but thorough analysis of the current working environment in the field of virus safety and any other opportunities for improvement
- 6 Feet Rules – A set of simple and clear workable agreements and rules of conduct that put the safety of everyone first
- 6 Feet Routing – A visually displayed and unique routing for each office, making traffic flows completely safe
- 6 Feet Workstation – An adapted and fully equipped workplace at which the user can work safely
- 6 Feet Facility – A trained employee who advises on and operationally ensures an optimally functioning and safe facility environment
- 6 Feet Certificate – A certificate stating that measures have been taken to implement a virus-safe working environment
Does Your Company Need Six Feet Offices?
Do you need to convert your office space to Six Feet? Some of you may be able to get by with having some workers become permanent remote workers, or having workers work in shifts. But if these techniques alone will not allow you to achieve proper social distancing in your office, you may not have a choice. Governors of some states are proposing mandatory 6-foot spacing between workers as part of their post-COVID recovery plans. In the US, state and sometimes even local governments are making decisions on these requirements. As a result, you will need to check with the authorities in all the locations where you have offices to determine what, if any, mandatory social distancing measures you will face. Also, be aware most jurisdictions have not yet posted their business social distancing regulations.
Having said all that, other companies realize that 6-foot spacing between workers makes good business sense and are pursuing the concept on their own. If you work for a company that emphasizes employee experience or realizes workers afraid to come to work will not do good work, your CEO will be very interested to learn about the Six Feet Office.
To implement Six Feet Offices, companies will need to reconfigure furniture and probably make some wiring changes. While Milestone’s IT Office Relocation team does not do that kind of work, we know plenty of companies that do and would be glad to put you in contact with the right people. On the other hand, if your project requires disconnecting computer equipment, moving it, recabling, and reconnecting it, that’s where we can help. Milestone has been doing that kind of work for decades, although never in times like this. To talk to one of our Milestone experts about your Six Feet project, click here to leave your contact information.