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Designing a post-COVID-19 workplace

Social distancing, increased hygiene, partitions – this only scratches the surface of the issues facing workplace design in a post-COVID-19 world. Environments that promote a feeling of safety and enable occupants to stay motivated and inspired will be more important than ever.

Amtico Signature, AR0W8460 Versailles Oak, Stripwood laying pattern

Amtico Signature Versailles Oak, laid in Stripwood. 

Whether you are looking for a short-term solution, or planning the first phase of a long-term design upgrade, the focus should centre on making basic changes to ensure staff feel safe. Practical measures including flooring with social distancing marking should be among the initial steps to create a sense of safety in the workplace, which will last beyond the final restrictions being lifted.

The 'new normal'

Ultimately, the new ‘normal’ will be focussed on higher levels of cleanliness and hygiene. Put simply, choosing materials that can withstand heavy cleaning and offer protection against bacteria – such as nonporous surfaces and bleach-cleanable fabrics – will provide long-term benefits that last beyond the pandemic. In particular, Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is a practical, hygienic and highly durable floor product that’s ideal for commercial spaces. Both our Amtico Signature 36+ and Spacia 36+ LVT products offer enhanced design options in a choice of planks and tiles, with added antimicrobial protection. They contain an active ingredient which has shown, under blind independent lab tests, to resist the growth of bacteria such as MRSA and E.coli throughout the useable lifetime of the floor. 

Amtico Signature AR0AMN81 Modernist Atrium, 18x18", 9x18", 6x18", Staggered Block.  AR0AMN38 Modernist Spire, 3mm Stripping, CMYK.

Modernist Atrium, with Modernist Spire in a Staggered Block laying pattern. 

SG5W2550, Nordic Oak, laid Stripwood

Nordic Oak, laid Stripwood.

 

Workplaces are designed for people to come together and collaborate; this shouldn’t change due to the limit on the number of people in a space and the distance between them. The design of a space helps create an emotional response in the user, which can be anything from a sense of excitement, to making them feel relaxed and comfortable. Implementing visible changes can also help colleagues feel confident their wellbeing is being looked after and protected.

'Resimercial' Trend 

 The ‘resimercial’ trend will continue to gain momentum as we look for familiar and reassuring environments that incorporate elements of both the home and the office. A combination of ‘residential’ and ‘commercial’ design, resimercial meets the need for modern workplaces seeking comfortable, inspiring spaces that deliver a sense of calm and help put people at ease – opening the door for creativity and successful collaboration. Key design features such as flexible spaces, home-inspired wood LVT flooring, comfortable upholstered furniture and ambient lighting will each evoke a sense of comfort and familiarity.

 

Wayfinding/zoning 

While it is important to create this positive emotional response with design, there are practical considerations that also evoke a sense of safety and reassurance – while meeting current social distancing guidelines. Directing movement will play a major role in maintaining a two-metre space between people; as a result, at Amtico, we expect to see commercial projects featuring wider corridors and doorways, as well as more partitions between departments to maximise the distance between individuals and assist with health and safety. LVT floor designs are particularly useful for wayfinding/zoning and will provide simple instructions to occupants while helping them to feel safe and reduce anxiety. It can be as simple as a colour ‘track’ that shows the recommended flow of movement in the office, or as in-depth as combining flooring in different laying patterns and contrasting colours to represent new zones, such as breakout areas and cleaning stations.

Amtico Signature,  DC357 Genoa Arrow and Tempus Restore, Broken Bond

DC357 Genoa, Arrow laying pattern and Tempus Restore laid in a Broken Bond. 

Amtico Colour Anchor Squawk, Migrate, Island, Rumpus, laid Brick. Access, Frosted Oak laid stripwood.

Colour Anchor Squawk, Migrate, Island, Rumpus, laid Brick. Access, Frosted Oak laid stripwood.

 

Trends towards agile workspace design have already played a major part in the development of flexible, open-plan offices – designed to adapt to the changing needs of the modern workplace and put people at ease to allow them to work in a way they feel comfortable with. While it is impossible to completely predict the post-COVID-19 landscape, at Amtico, we anticipate workplace design becoming more flexible and agile. Modular breakout areas/gathering spaces will be adapted to maintain social distancing yet provide a safe place to bring colleagues together, which will be vital for their wellbeing after weeks of isolation. Converting some of these spaces into temporary workstations will also help evenly distribute people in an open office – however, enhanced cleaning facilities will need to be considered – and provide areas that can be adapted as we learn more about COVID-19. We foresee a move away from workstations that focus on privacy and acoustics, towards physical ‘barriers’ that make people feel more comfortable, as well as meeting rooms being used as ‘micro’ offices and a reduced number of stools/seats at desks and breakout areas.

Amtico Signature Tempus Restore, AR0SMS42 Stria Volcanic Stripping, DC351, Flagstone Large

DC351, Concerto, Flagstone Large laying pattern. 

Explore our LVT collections

Collection

Amtico Signature

Achieve Original.

Our premium collection of made-to-order LVT flooring containing more than 200 unique Wood, Stone and Abstract designs.

Collection
Amtico Signature
Amtico Signature

Achieve Original.

Our premium collection of made-to-order LVT flooring containing more than 200 unique Wood, Stone and Abstract designs.

Collection

Amtico Spacia

Our versatile and hard-working collection is quick to specify and install. 104 designs allow for creative expression at short lead times.

Collection
Amtico Spacia
Amtico Spacia

Our versatile and hard-working collection is quick to specify and install. 104 designs allow for creative expression at short lead times.