As we begin to think about a slow return to the office, our teams are faced with many of the same issues our customers are experiencing.  The bkm team has identified 3 primary concerns for our safe return to our space:

  • How do we keep our people safe?
  • How does our new space make our teams feel comfortable and support us being productive?
  • How do we adapt to a fast changing environment?

With these concerns in mind, our team has embarked on a journey to figure out what works for us.  We recognize that this is not a one size fits all approach. However, the process can be easily duplicated to fit our customer’s individual needs.  As our customers begin to recognize a need, please feel free to reach out to our team here for a free consultation and floorplan analysis.

STEP 1

Identifying Concerns: Employee Survey & Floorplan Risk Assessment 

bkm initiated a return to work survey to engage our teams early on in this process.  We recognize that employees will not return to an office that did not feel safe.  We quickly realized our survey results generated a wide range of comfort levels on returning to the office.  20% of our respondents had a very high comfort level for returning while 15% had a very low comfort level.   The rest of our responses fell somewhere around the middle with an average comfort level of returning at a 6 on a scale out of 10.

We realize that it may be a long time for everyone to feel safe and comfortable.  With news changing daily we also realize that this survey could generate very different results if conducted 2 weeks prior or later.  What changes or additions to our office would increase our employees comfort levels?

OUR TOP 5 RESPONSES ARE LISTED BELOW:

  • 80% of respondents indicated that increased frequency and thoroughness of cleaning throughout the office
  • 75% of respondents indicated that adding hands free sanitizing options would also help them feel comfortable.
  • 63% of respondents indicated that they preferred a phased re-entry of our workforce
  • 48% of respondents indicated their preference to reevaluate our office floorplan to follow social distancing guidelines
  • 47% of respondents emphasized the importance of improved air quality

Our first step was a very high level analysis of our space to identify potential problem areas.

Low Risk: (BLUE) Spaces where users are easily able to maintain 6’ distances and contamination risk is low.

Moderate Risk: (YELLOW) Areas of floorplan where a 6’ distance is possible to maintain with established guidelines.  Sanitation supplies should be supplied.

High Risk: (RED) Areas of floorplan that are high-risk exposure areas and will require more modifications and guidelines.

Our goal was to simply identify what we could control.  It turns out that many of the concerns could be addressed fairly easily while others would require some significant changes to the way we worked only a few months prior.

STEP 2

Preparing Our Workplace

Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.  Early in our process, we realized that how quickly we gathered information, listened and responded would help ensure our teams that we valued their feedback and responded appropriately to their concerns.  We had the advantage of being told what to do.  It was now up to our team to implement.  From a management perspective, the decision to over communicate was made early.  The changes and strategies we implemented based on feedback have been communicated weekly to ensure our teams were engaged in the process.

Once the feedback received had been organized, our design team responded quickly with a full space analysis.

Using 6 feet as our guide, we analyzed every workspace within our office.  If the 6 feet of space could not be realized, it was clearly indicated to identify where action needed to be taken. Chairs were removed, problem areas were called out and areas that at one time were deemed “free address” were removed so that every employee would have a designated workstation.  Building on the concerns presented on our survey’s, we clearly identified where sanitation stations would need to be placed throughout the office so that they were always close by.  We focused our sanitation stations around copy/print areas with accompanying new clean up protocol instructions.  Additionally, our design team put together a path of travel analysis, shown as arrows, to manage future foot traffic and limit crossing paths with others if it could be avoided.  To keep our conference rooms and shared spaces safe, new protocols and occupancy limits were determined and posted in all communal areas. Finally, our marketing team prepared a welcome back kit detailing our new office protocols and rules to prepare our teams for a safe return to the office when deemed appropriate.

Regardless of how much we plan, we will undoubtedly need to remain flexible.  Our teams have been successful working remotely.  We recognize that this will be an integral part of our strategy for the foreseeable future.  Over the last few months, trust has also become paramount.  Trusting our teams to continue to service our customers will accompany the need to trust each other to self-monitor our own health and stay home if there are any signs of being sick.  Although our AV & Technology Team has identified a number of temperature check and safety solutions we will be responsible for monitoring ourselves.  Additionally, our AV team has been focused on ensuring our work from home capabilities are improved and that our office is equipped with enhanced AV capabilities to facilitate remote work.

The only certainty is that our journey is not over.  We will continue to make changes as new data becomes available and our teams remain transparent by continuing to communicate and voice their concerns.  As much as we all look forward to going back to the way things were, we also recognize that at the current time, that is simply not possible.  At bkm we have begun the long process to adapt to our new normal.  We will continue to focus on safety, adapting our space to the best of our abilities based on feedback, and remain flexible in a very uncertain environment.

Reach out to our team here for a free consultation and floorplan analysis.