This past year, in particular, has been a strenuous marathon in mental strength and shear resilience amongst the rapidly changing world around us. Beginning with the unprecedented fires in Australia, the lockdowns, protests, upcoming election and now with the environmental catastrophes across the United States, such as the hurricanes and wildfires we have all been exposed to quite a lot. Perhaps the most extreme emotional turmoil than any of us had experienced in our lives thus far. And now as we begin to reemerge from the confinement of our homes, we head back into group environments that were once places of joy, camaraderie, and integration to find a very changed landscape.
These days, it is second nature to look the other way when crossing someone on the street, if not to avoid crossing the street altogether. It’s normalized to pretend people around us don’t exist because we’re told to remove ourselves from potentially dangerous situations that could lead to the spread of the virus. While these social norms are in place to protect us, they can also be extremely damaging to our human psyche. Feeling mistrust towards all strangers, and in some cases, towards family and friends, has created a collective body of people who resolve to live and work in solitude. So how can we find solutions for reintegration without compromising our humanity in the process? Below we’ll examine some ways in which we can update our interior commercial spaces to protect us from COVID 19 while also regaining some of our human relationships.
The New Open Floor Plan
We’ve all seen them. We’ve probably all experienced them. The Open Floor Plan of the future looks a little different than what is typically imagined. The open plan of today is achieved by bringing the indoors outside. Most restaurants that were allowed to reopen have transitioned to outdoor seating, filling sidewalks and once busy streets with benches, leaving room for 6 feet of separation and plenty of arm room from patron to patron. Investing in pleasantries such as tall, leafy plants and string lights, these businesses have dressed up their establishments in attempts to normalize the very abnormal circumstances. This model, now also adopted by the business world, so far appears to be the safest medium in which to bring people together in a safe, socially distanced atmosphere. The open-air space provides a sense of security for customers and employees alike, eliminating the chance of stagnant, stuffy air that may carry air droplets containing the virus. Even though restaurants and office buildings have begun taking the temperatures of staff and patrons, the vast majority of those testing positive for the virus are asymptomatic. Meaning, a simple temperature test provides little insight about contagious carriers. But with this new model of outdoor dining, open-air office spaces, and outside school lessons, there is less fear about contraction, and as the numbers indicate fewer recorded cases.
To accompany the outdoor alternative to coexisting, there are some new and seemingly successful indoor solutions for safe reintegration as well. Glass Wall Partitions and wall dividers are being installed widely throughout office space, schools and waiting rooms to protect workers and customers from spreading the disease. By creating safe, functional environments within larger office buildings we can invite employees back into the office to help readopt a sense of normalcy and collaboration into the workday. People are rightly exhausted from months of working from home. Understandably, many are itching to get back into a healthy home/work-life balance. But we cannot bring workers back into communal environments without updating these interior workplaces to meet the current circumstances. Our collective mental health is has suffered greatly over the past year, and our interiors have understandably become a critical catalyst for our mental happiness or lack thereof. Our commercial interiors should be elevated to compensate for how much time we’re forced indoors. Bringing in plants, more natural lighting, water features, and even pleasant scents all help to soothe our senses and create an elevated place to exist. Stress is caused by so many uncontrollable exterior factors, but interior design is something that certainly can be improved.
Interiors should be designed to spread and enhance beautiful daytime light, drawn in through wide windows and skylights. We aren’t meant to exist for the majority of the day in dark, depressive, artificially lighted indoor environments. By providing light-allowing windows and full-sized Glass Wall Partitions, your office space can bring health back to the workplace. Consider replacing light-blocking interior walls with modern, easy to clean, sliding glass wall partitions and floor to Sliding Glass Room Dividers to improve mental health and morale during the workday.
By providing a more health-centered office environment that integrates beautiful greenery and increased natural light, you can improve the quality of life and health for your employees and customers alike. Visit Space Plus, A Division of the Sliding Door Company online to view our online catalog, and Get a quote from one of our professionals today!