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Bringing Remote Workers Back to the Office

Our life since the pandemic began has evolved dramatically. For some employees, making space on a cluttered kitchen counter for kids to participate in their remote learning (while pets are running around and barking) was a less than ideal solution. If you sent your staff home to quarantine during the peak of COVID, but are now ready to get them back into the office, there are some best practices emerging on how to get workers excited to return to work.

fixed panel office partitions

Overhaul the Office 

Yes, really. Your office may be long overdue for an overhaul. Better furniture, lighting, and a space that offers true comfort and productivity can beat a opens in a new windowcubicle in the corner of a dark room (or a cluttered kitchen) any day. While you might have gotten away with less in the past, now is the time to rethink the setup of the space you offer to your workers. If you can add plants, windows, break down barriers and let people thrive, they will enjoy coming back in. Offering new and creative solutions to offices, opens in a new windowlike QUBIGLASS®, can lighten the mood, and bring the spirit of collaboration back into your space. 

Perk Up

Gyms are back! Snack bars! All the things we might have taken for granted in the past are real treasures now. Are you offering unlimited coffee, the occasional social event or maybe happy hour? The little things are big again and will be appreciated by those who enjoy spending time with their peers and coworkers. On a tight budget, you might just improve parking or childcare, popcorn breaks and anything that can beat the ‘covid-fatigue’ for those tired of being at home. 

Think Hybrid

Chances are not everyone will be thrilled if you make the office 100% mandatory 100% of the time. Think flexibly and ease everyone in. Maybe every other day is a work-from-home day, or maybe you can let certain departments stagger time to skip rush hour. Rotate staff members’ schedules so there is still a safe environment as opposed to max capacity. We’ve seen many businesses let remote work become an incentive or earnable reward for great work. 

Stop, Collaborate and Listen

Not just pop song lyrics, but smart business advice. Asking your employees how they envision their future with your business could surprise you. Try anonymous surveys to ease the pressure and hear more honest feedback. If you’re open and receptive, your employees will tell you what they truly want. We are seeing many offices add large meeting rooms. You may want to add bigger and safely spaced conference spaces, places where teams that missed collaborating can work on the big picture and have opens in a new windowgroup meetings.

Many major companies feel they have delayed their return to work long enough, and more and more businesses are eager to get the gang back together again. By thinking through the logistics and maybe making some key improvements, you will get your team excited about seeing each other again with vaccinated high fives all over the office.

If you need to reimagine, refresh and make key upgrades to improve your space, reach out to opens in a new windowSpace Plus now.

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Office Environments, Layouts, Standards and Guidelines

As a contractor or architect, it’s up to you to design a space for your clients that is well suited to the client’s needs and improves the quality of their experience existing in the space. Getting contracted to design opens in a new windowoffice spaces is not always easy, especially today with a rapidly evolving definition of what an office environment could be. Nowadays, most new offices are multidimensional and act as a home away from home- with kitchens, games, and lounge areas that simulate the essence of a living room.

These workspaces are meant to cater to the worker’s needs, boost morale, enhance production, and increase continuity and communication amongst coworkers or “team members”. By designing a thoughtful and considered layout, and installing the right framework, you’ll be able to craft an innovative working environment that your client and their employees will love. Below, we’ve outlined some things to keep in mind during the design process. Much needed rooms, spatial separation, and exciting elements to employ may help inspire your blueprints.

Office Open Floor Plans

Today, open floor plans have become the new staple or standard in office design. More and more companies are recognizing that allowing their employees to freely communicate, work together and experience closeness actually increases productivity and team morale. Open floor plans also increase visibility, natural light, and breathability throughout the office environment. By starting off your design with an open plan, you make room for a lot of inventive spatial solutions and targeted rooms that will add intrigue and excitement to the space.

 

bright workplace with many glass divided rooms

 

Office Phone Booths/Call Rooms

A good way to allow for some spatial separation and privacy is to introduce phone booths or “tiny rooms” into the open swath of expansive office space. While these glass barriers are not specifically soundproof, they do provide a spatial barrier that lessens noise and provides increased privacy. This way, when a team member has a long call (or a loud voice) they can quickly step into these quiet spaces and not feel guilty about distracting nearby workers. A new poll by Udemy and Toluna showed that 80% of workers admit to being sonically distracted while at work.

 “Office noise is the second most cited workplace disturbance, with seven out of ten respondents citing noise as a top bother in their day-to-day workflow” (statista.com).

Outside influences on employees’ working environment take a toll on productivity and cause employees a cumbersome mental reset every few minutes. A great solution to introduce with these call booths is to install sliding door room dividers for the call booth so as to save space in an already tiny enclosure, while creating a stylish design that increases the office aesthetic. Our solutions divide the space, curtail foot traffic and provide visual privacy.

 

Bonus Yoga / Stretching / Meditation Room

A new trend amongst trendy office spaces is offering a yoga or meditation room. People become seriously fatigued while sitting for too long a time in uncomfortable office chairs day in and day out. Not only is a desk job physically grueling on a person’s body, but it also takes a mental toll. By designing workers space for some healthy breaks to stretch, breathe, recenter and improve their physical health, you effectively boost productivity, increase mental capacity and increase contentment amongst a workforce. Consider installing sliding opens in a new windowglass barn doors for this room – it will enhance the overall look of the room and offer an artistic flourish your client will love. What’s more, you can choose from six different glass opacities to best suit your client’s needs. For the yoga room, perhaps a more opaque glass finish would be the ideal choice, so workers can stretch and meditate while enjoying a bit of privacy. 

 

conference room with sliding glass door wall, some panels opaque

 

Think Tank / Conference Room

While open floor plans are a great way to achieve integration, cohesion, and an overall team mentality, any office environment should come equipped with a full-size conference room for important/private meetings and presentations. Some like to think of these rooms as productive think tanks. Not providing one would be a big detriment to any business. People need to be able to gather around a table, bounce ideas off each other, check-in on progress, etc. To engineer a stylistic balance of privacy with visibility, use glass opens in a new windowsliding door room dividers to integrate a conference room amongst the rest of the open floor plan. This way, you’ll provide a “separate yet together” feel that your clients will thoroughly enjoy.

Private Offices

Of course, you’ll want to design your office space with at least one to three private offices to provide distinction for the company CEO, manager or owner from the general workforce. By using floor-to-ceiling glass wall partitions and interior sliding doors, you’ll provide enough spatial separation and privacy while assimilating the rooms into the vast open space. An office with four solid walls on each side doesn’t exactly say “teamwork” the way it should. Rather, it segregates the people below and can make employees feel detached from their bosses or those higher up than them. As the designer, take it upon yourself to create a positive, integrative working environment that will improve the working conditions of employees and drive the business in the right direction.

Our glass and aluminum partitions are recyclable and perfect for green construction projects. They also assist architects with earning LEED points which is another selling point when contracting clients. Taking into consideration general layout, office partitions, the use of glass, and introducing inventive spaces, you’ll successfully craft a product that your clients will celebrate each day they come into work. An office should be a productive home away from home. Consult the experts in space optimization and check out Space Plus, a division of the Sliding Door Company.

Have a look at our opens in a new windowproducts gallery for inspiration and product images. Schedule a call with one of our knowledgeable professionals to get a free quote and other information on our many available solutions. Simply opens in a new windowfind a location near you and ensure your office design a success!

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Keeping The Workplace Safe This Season

As we head into a new season, there is a collective worry that this flu season will be far more devastating than in years past. With no sign of this virus slowing down, and a vaccine still months out, workers are becoming even more aware and considerate about how to keep their workplace safe and comfortable for everyone. Managing an office space and leading a team can be difficult during these uncertain times. But arming yourself and your workplace with the right solutions will make all the difference in the fight against COVID.

So what are some methods to introduce into the workplace to safeguard employees, visitors, and clients alike this fall flu season? Above all else, you and your workforce should use the known and proven-to-work sanitation standards, which should be regularly followed and unwavering. Your employees need to ensure the safety of everyone in the building while coming and leaving work even if they have individual offices, which is why asking everyone to mask up while at work is another simple solution that guarantees safety for all. All communal areas should be socially distanced and mask-required in order to be safe for employees of all ages.

This information is probably not anything new, but before we get into other safety methods, we thought it important to mention those above, though most people by now are well-versed with the standard safety precautions in place. The following fall solutions list a number of new and inventive systems that really help eliminate unnecessary surface contact, potential airborne contamination, and general fear within your commercial establishment.

Keyless Locking Systems

Considering how often we open and close doors, it only makes sense that locking systems should evolve to meet the modern moment and utilize the available technology. Space Plus, A Division of The Sliding Door Company offers innovative keyless locking door systems that connect right to your smartphone! Rather than carting around a set of dirty keys and touching handles and doorknobs unnecessarily, you can unlock your doors with the tap of your finger.

All you need is your smartphone and the locking app. Simply unlock the door and push open, cutting the contact in half. Especially useful in office settings for utility rooms or individual office doors that open and close regularly, these systems make entering and exiting a total breeze.

Sanitizing

The importance of consistent sanitation cannot be overstressed. Your company should have already created a job for one of your cleaning staff or contracted a team of sanitation experts to consistently and professionally clean, disinfect, and sanitize your commercial space. Door knobs, elevator buttons, kitchen counters, and other communal spaces within the office must be wiped down and sanitized often. Providing hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes throughout your commercial building is also highly recommended in order to help keep employees cleaner and safer for all.

Space dividers

Aside from masks, large outdoor spaces, and self quarantines, space dividers are the newest solution of choice. Many of you have likely seen pop-up plexiglass or glass dividers in restaurants, banks, or any other business that comes in close contact with customers. And as a commercial business, it is your responsibility to outfit your facility or office space with top-grade spatial dividers to keep your employees and your customers a safe as possible. Sliding Room Dividers (floor-to-ceiling and smaller sizes), as well as sliding glass doors and Office Partitions, make it possible to welcome back workers safely without risking the health of everyone indoors. You can choose from countless customizable options, handles, accessories, and even glass transparency when you order your sliding office dividers from Space Plus!

Putting these tips into play, you can safeguard your staff, employees, and your customers against this fall flu season! For more ideas, inspiration, and related blogs, head over to Space Plus, a Division of The Sliding Door Company for all the best in commercial space-saving solutions! From Bi-Fold doors to swing doors,wall dividers to suspended systems, Space Plus has it all. Schedule a free consultation with one of our showroom professionals and start your educational transformation today!

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