New products and redesigned spaces as Canada opens for business
This unprecedented year has shown the strength and resiliency of Canadian businesses. As the economy begins to reopen, recommendations in layouts, furniture, and safety equipment are changing the way we approach office design. The future of office furniture focuses on physical divisions in the office, robust and easy to clean surfaces, and hands-free features. Source Office Furniture looks at the industry needs and requirements that will affect space planning and furniture selection in the next year.
Office Furniture Trends
Office workers are switching to height adjustable desks due to the numerous health benefits of standing throughout the day. Consider the following benefits of standing desks when you make your next office furniture purchase.
1. Dividers and safety barriers.
The last few months have shown the criticality of physical distancing to promote good health. Clear or cleanable fabric dividers between desks and stations, head-height cubicle walls, and larger workspaces will contribute to following public health guidelines on safe distancing.
2. Office space planning
Co-working spaces and high-traffic, multi-purpose rooms will be retrofitted with safety dividers or will likely to be phased out in the coming months. Rooms with defined functions, separated with open space, may become the new norm.
3. Nonporous materials.
Smooth, nonporous surfaces are easier to clean than soft, porous, and textured material. We expect to see increased demand for antibacterial materials and furniture with built-in sanitation functions, such as blue or UV light attachments.
4. Simple designs.
Office furniture that is simple in structure and easy to clean, without numerous pockets, cubbies, hinges, or seams, should see greater use. Large, flat work surfaces and desks provide an easy-to-clean format while promoting physical distancing.
5. Easy to clean remotes or hands-free features.
Pedals to operate electric height-adjustable chairs, press-and-release drawers without handles to touch, and voice-control lighting and environmental systems will appeal to health-conscious employers in the coming year.
Health and Safety Considerations
The government of Canada has provided a reopening guide and recommended safety practices for offices.
- Creating a 2 metre separation between desks or workstations
- Installing physical barriers between workers, or workers and client
- Reducing the number of common spaces and shared surfaces
- Providing sanitation supplies and increasing environmental cleaning
Office space planning and thoughtful selection of office furniture will support these guidelines. Our office space planners can assist you in creating a new layout for your office that takes into consideration ample spacing between stations, repurposing existing multi-use rooms, and creating unidirectional flow between spaces.
Updating Your Office Furniture
As offices reopen, updated furniture can help employees make a smooth and safe transition back to the workplace. Here are our top recommendations for the future of office furniture.
Sit-stand desks and height-adjustable tables allow employees to work at a comfortable height and adjust their position throughout the day. Studies show the health benefits of standing during the workday, and many electric desks have smooth, easy-to-clean button interfaces.
Clear barriers provide physical separation between employees, or between staff and clients. Workstation shields come in many different configurations, including transaction shields that allow the use of a debit machine or other equipment. Frosted shields provide safety along with privacy between desks.
For shared-use chairs, such as those used by visitors, hard nonporous materials are easiest to clean. Chairs used by individuals throughout the workday need to be comfortable, ergonomic, and easy to sanitize. Bonded leather chairs can be wiped down with disinfectant wipes or a cleaner containing at least 70% alcohol. Treat the chair with a leather conditioner after cleaning to keep the material supple and comfortable.
Baskets or caddies made of hard, nonporous materials can be kept regularly stocked with hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes so that employees can maintain hygienic standards at their work stations. Small touches such as bag hooks keep personal items off the floor and contribute to an environment where comfort and wellness is a top priority.
Source Office Furniture looks forward to helping you retrofit or reconfigure your office as you reopen for business. For more information on our products, or for personalized assistance in updating your office layout, request a consultation with our office space planning professionals. With 12 locations across Canada, as well as our online store, we can provide you with the furniture solutions you need, now and in the future.