COVID Insights 10.19.2020

Well at Work

Preparing for the "next normal" workplace. This virtual learning series explores topics that promote health and wellness within the commercial building environment.
WFH may very well be the acronym of 2020. While many have grown adept at working from home, we don’t subscribe to the notion that it’s the end of days for the office. Workplaces that anchor organizations and provide a place to promote brand, culture, and collaboration are still in demand. As organizations endeavor to ready their workplaces for return, questions remain— for business owners, real estate professionals, building managers, Operations and HR leaders, and the workforce itself: What knowledge should real estate advisors, design consultants, organizations, and end-users seek out to be better prepared to offer and make decisions? This series aims to answer that question (and others) with new insights and research.

 

“Building a practice of Design Excellence inspired the idea for a virtual outreach and information sharing series – sharing topics that are not new but have found a new focus in our pandemic experience with an intense focus on health and wellness in the workplace. We have found a “silver lining” during our social distancing efforts that have opened a path to connect with our clients, developers, real estate professionals, and construction industry contacts.”

– Juliè Gauthier,  Associate Principal

Breathe Healthy

Once a perk, employee well-being is now imperative. Key to ensuring a healthy workforce is mitigating the spread of airborne contaminants—and building mechanical systems play a vital role in this process. This session explored strategies and best practices for improving indoor air quality.

Key takeaways –

  • Understanding of how indoor air quality impacts occupant well-being.
  • Strategies to enhance indoor air quality and the importance of mechanical system maintenance, filtration, ventilation effectiveness, and cleaning.
  • Demonstration of strategies in real workplace projects.
  • Resources to guide building occupants to evaluate indoor air quality and the mechanics of air delivery

Click here to view the summary.

Sound Off

In this session, we explored the importance of acoustics as we re-occupy our office spaces, and consider solutions for creating an environment that will allow for collaboration with fellow colleagues – on and off technology platforms – as well as offer quiet spaces for focus work.

Key takeaways:

  • Learn how Living Design strategies provide acoustical benefits for users.
  • Explore sound science to understand how sound moves and is absorbed within the built environment.
  • Uncover findings about how our work-from-home experience has delivered more focus in our work life.
  • Highlight ideas and opportunities for balancing individual work with collaborative tasks through an autonomous office model.

Click here to view the summary.

Can I Touch That Surface?

This session addressed concerns about cleanliness in our workspaces. Many are aware of approved cleaning protocols, but new questions arise daily about antimicrobial products and UV light sterilization. As we become more aware of viral transmission, our instincts might encourage us to explore every strategy and product that will disinfect the surfaces we touch every day. This session seeks to identify best practices for ensuring that our shared office surfaces do not become a source for viral transmission while encouraging caution in the rapid adoption of untested products and procedures.

Key takeaways:

  • Outline CDC guidelines and other best practices for how to ensure that surfaces and common items within the work environment do not become virus and disease transmitters.
  • Chemical Hazards and their use in commercial interior environments.
  • Cleaning protocols to ensure a healthy work environment
  • How topical chemical applications on high touch surfaces can provide false assurance about disease spread and may aggravate other health conditions.

Click here to view the summary.

Workplace Futures

In this session, we explored new research, ideas, and strategies for our “next normal” workplace environments from across Perkins&Will studios.

Key takeaways:

  • Learn how technology, autonomy, and trust were the key success factors during our WFH experience and identify the role these three factors will play as we return to and re-shape our workspaces. 
  • Consider those mindset shifts for office workers and how those attitudes and preferences will drive new ideas around office location and workplace needs.
  • Outline scenarios and planning opportunities that organizations can consider to support a hybrid workforce. 
  • Explore a Change Management Approach that seeks to prevent backslide to ‘old norms’ and advance ideas that could elevate our work experience.

Click here to view the summary.

Workplace Futures Part II

In this session, we continued to explore new research, ideas, and strategies for our “next normal” workplace environments from across Perkins&Will studios.

Key takeaways:

  • Learn how technology, autonomy, and trust were the key success factors during our WFH experience and identify the role these three factors will play as we return to and re-shape our workspaces. 
  • Consider those mindset shifts for office workers and how those attitudes and preferences will drive new ideas around office location and workplace needs.
  • Outline scenarios and planning opportunities that organizations can consider to support a hybrid workforce. 
  • Explore a Change Management Approach that seeks to prevent backslide to ‘old norms’ and advance ideas that could elevate our work experience.

Click here to view the summary.