How are Offices in Silicon Valley Preparing to go Back to Work
Jul 27, 2020
Across the country, the effects of the novel coronavirus have been devastating. Many states opted to implement shelter in place procedures and social distancing guidelines to ‘flatten the curve’ of the spread of COVID-19. As time goes on, the talk of reopening is increasing. More and more businesses are preparing to open and put countless people back to work. In the midst of a global pandemic, what does that mean for local businesses? Let’s discuss how offices in Silicon Valley are preparing to go back to work.
The CDC guidelines for social distancing have remained firm in the wake of businesses beginning to reopen. The recommended safe distance for interacting with others is a minimum of 6 feet separation and as a general rule of thumb, crowded areas are to be avoided. In marketing materials for the office workplace, cubicle, or open floor layout, we are beginning to see hypothetical social distancing floor plans that adhere to distancing of 6 feet between coworkers at their desks. The new July 2nd Santa Clara County Public Health Order is even calling for facility density limitations – not to exceed 1 employee per 250 square feet + 1 customer per 150 square feet. For common areas, such as break rooms, there are a different set of problems, and solutions, to be mindful of.
Many businesses are opting to screen visitors to the office and are increasing the preexisting level of access control. Seating areas near reception could be limited or even removed completely to decrease the number of surfaces that need to be disinfected. In break rooms and conference rooms, removing extra seating areas to abide by the general rule of avoiding large groups is a viable option. Meetings can be reevaluated to have only employees, to whom the information is essential, attend. Additionally, the option of telephone or video calling is something that will be more and more common for large scale meetings. Technology can greatly decrease the rate at which in-person interaction is needed. Training can be done remotely or in smaller groups to comply with the CDC guidelines for proper social distancing.
A frequent and thorough cleaning should be done in the workplace. Disinfecting of high traffic areas along with any touch surfaces and seating areas after individuals have come in contact with them. Computers, phones, desks, etc. should all be wiped down regularly. Personal belongings on desks can be taken home at the end of the day as well. Sneeze guards are being implemented at various locations. Personal protective equipment, such as face masks and gloves. You’ll also want to verify you are in compliance with the latest state and county health orders – California along with Alameda and Santa Clara County resources can be found here.
Opting to Work From Home
As of this writing, Santa Clara County calls for all businesses to continue to require workers to work remotely whenever possible. This can limit exposure and contact for employees. As stated earlier, meetings are also frequently being done remotely via video chat. Of course, not all work can be completed from home. With the proper care and safety procedures implemented, the risk of spreading the disease can be reduced. At the end of the day, no matter the business, the focus should be on safety during these times. Although these changes may seem inconvenient, they are well worth it in the long run.
These are complex and challenging times… who’d of thought that something as simple as going to work would be so complex and challenging… Remember Google’s plan to reopen in July? That’s not happening anymore.
In order to alleviate pressure on your in-house resources and provide expert advice to get back to work, Colliers has launched a new offering:
The Back-to-Work Navigator is designed to provide a 48-hour turnaround analysis of your office space and recommendations to achieve readiness for people to come back to work. Reassure your employees and other key stakeholders that you’re prioritizing a safe return to the office!
Contact me for more information.
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Until next time…