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Reimagining Design for the New Normal: Offices

It’s more than plexiglass and 6 feet. Before you put up the partitions, check with the code.

One day you are in the office mingling by the espresso machine, then the next you are receiving a FedEx package with your company-issued laptop and cellphone. Covid-19 has thrown us all for a loop, but as the curve flattens, we are seeing more and more employers opting to bring people back into the office with safety precautions and a new floorplan. But before you breakout the partitions and the plexiglass, make sure egress and your emergency action plan are a top priority.

In a previous Decoder article, we broke down 5 things to consider for COVID-19 workplace design, but as the situation has evolved, we are seeing more ways that workplaces are changing. Many of these changes are concentrated to building access points and egress, and it is important to make that offices follow life safety codes and are ADA compliant.

Before you start installing the plexiglass and adjusting your entryways, make sure you check these things:

  1. Make sure your office’s new design is ADA compliant. The National Association for Fire Prevention (NAFP) notes that even during a worldwide pandemic, your office must pass ADA standards, and maybe even more, if your local jurisdiction has requirements that exceed the ADA. Check with your AHJ or reach out to Outsource Consultants if you are unsure.

  2. ADA Compliant

  3. Is anything obstructing egress? Those new fancy temperature machines are wonderful, and innovations like Amazon’s “Distant Assistant”, which uses large monitors to track when employees get too close, are all amazing technologies to help mitigate the spread. But unless you have as much space as an Amazon fulfillment center, you will need to ensure that any new fixtures brought in do not obstruct egress.

  4. ADA Compliant

  5. You may need to update your Emergency Access Plan if your egress routes have changed with your office’s COVID-19 updates. The NAFP is a great resource for updating your office’s emergency plans.

  6. ADA Compliant

To conclude, before you purchase all of the latest technology and Covid-19 office design trends, be sure to pay attention to the building code, especially fire codes. If you need assistance with making sure that your office is up to code, contact the experts at Outsource Consultants.


Reimagining Design for the New Normal: A Look Inside Each Industry.

Covid-19 has had an impact across every industry. With the need for low-touch and 6-feet of distance, high-tech, futuristic design may be coming faster than we anticipated. From spatial choreography to antimicrobial materials, there are many standard and unique ways that each industry will approach the new normal. With insights from experts in design, construction, and the building code, we have curated articles for many of the major industries on how to approach the new normal with safety and aesthetics in mind. This series will dive into restaurants, airports, healthcare, hotels, offices, residential, retail, theater, and museums. Do you have a topic that you would like Decoder to cover? Just ask the experts.