Large Company with city based offices

Large Company with city based offices

In this example the company has offices in large town or city and employs 30 to 40 or more people in open plan offices in a shared multi-storey block. The kitchen and rest area will be within the office domain and will be only used by the company. Access to the floor will either be via a stairwell or more often a shared lift.

For controls inside the office there are two options:

1. Each desk can be separated by Perspex shielding to in effect create cubicles. This will allow physical separation by means of the shielding but will still allow a degree of interpersonal connection.

2. The second option is that only half the staff are permitted in the office at any one time, and no hot desking/sharing IT equipment is permitted. If this option is chosen it is suggested that 50% work in the office and the other 50% work at home one week, and then the roles are reversed. Videoconferencing may be used to have team meetings at any time.

Social gatherings within the office/around desks will have to be discouraged or banned. Meeting rooms should not be used unless the distancing can be achieved.

The kitchen/rest area will need to be cleaned/disinfected regularly. This will need to be specifically organised probably by the office manager and carried out by either a member of staff or a cleaner. It is probably unrealistic to have a cleaner on site the whole time, so a member of staff or several members of staff will need to be delegated the task. This opens up the question of whether the staff on the cleaning rota are putting themselves at risk, and this should be manageable by the use of suitable PPE.

The issue of sharing a lift with an unknown number of people raises far more concerns. It is possible though probably not practical to maintain social distancing within a restricted space such as a lift. It is probable therefore, that people will choose to break the distancing recommendations and cram into a lift rather than wait or walk up possibly many flights of stairs. This immediately negates any social distancing that may happen in the office. The floor of the lift could be marked with footprints to indicate where people may stand in the lift so that social distancing can be maintained. Staff may need to arrive at work at staggered times to avoid long queues to enter the lift.

There is also the obvious concern about using public transport. It is not possible to maintain social distancing at peak times on any mass transit system. It has been suggested that the Government may attempt to limit the number of passengers in a carriage or bus by 90%. Such a reduction will certainly allow the 2m social distancing, but is it really feasible to then increase the number of buses to allow for running them more than half empty, and one cannot simply increase the number of train services.