Post COVID Workplace Environment

High-performance NZEB by design

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the life for employees globally. In a shot span of time, this workforce has shifted to remote working while maintaining the balance between economic continuity and personal well-being. The role of the workplace in Post COVID-19 world is more important than ever. Each organization must come up with their own strategy based on their strength, need and capacity to ensure a healthy and safe working space. It is also well established that a healthy workforce is also a productive one.

As we move ahead, organizations need to be ready with a plan to implement a comprehensive set of measures to promote infection safety and disable transmission.

The webinar features the Health and Sustainability team at Environmental Design Solutions, New Delhi as they walk us through some easy, physical and operational changes to for organizations to implement as things shift back to normal and employees return to the workplace. The webinar is a compilation of guidelines and strategies that can be adopted by organizations as the workforce returns, and economy rebuilds.

There is an urgent need to establish a new workplace dynamic to tackle challenges using various fixes differentiated based on ease of implementation, physical or manual modifications, adopting new operation strategies and modifying standard practices.

The challenges have been divided into 8 categories: Building systems, architectural design, interior design and ergonomics, plumbing and bathroom design, housekeeping and cleaning, innovative technology, nourishment and fitness, policies and standard practices.

Strategies addressing Building Systems include controlling ventilation, filtration, relative humidity and temperature  to prevent transmission of air-borne diseases .

Architectural Design aspects like modifying employee density, reimagined meeting spaces, circulation patterns, use of biophilia in internal spaces, use of antimicrobial materials and door and window design can also play a key role.

Further, there is also a need to rethink the interior design and ergonomics-  for example, by changing workstation placement and orientation, adding partitions and screening, rearranging furniture layout and using visual signals that communicate protocols.

Plumbing and bathroom design include retrofitting as well as operational changes in washrooms in workplaces. It focuses on touchless systems that can be used for basins, handwashes, sanitizers, and paper towel dispensers, and even automated flushing and lid-closing of toilets.

Housekeeping and cleaning strategies address the standardization and upgradation of cleaning protocols and the acquirement of new cleaning materials. Hygiene will become the focus in the post-Covid workplace operations. Nnew and upgraded housekeeping guidelines need to be put in place.

There is also a growing emphasis on tapping into new and innovative technologies like sensor based systems, voice activation and several other monitoring systems that ensure overall employee safety and health.

While ensuring life-safety, it is essential to ensure employee health and fitness as a key factor to building immunity against diseases. Nourishment and fitness provides guidelines that building management should provide for employees such nutritious eating opportunities as well as mental and physical fitness opportunities to foster health and wellbeing.

Finally, the webinar focuses on long-term operational changes that workplaces must adopt or update the existing standard practices. Every workplace will be required to come up with employee-centric internal and external polices at both macro and micro scales

This webinar was conducted on 8th May 2020.

Ashutosh Gupta leads the Health and Sustainability Assessment Division at EDS. He has over a decade’s experience in sustainable policy advocacy and environmental assessment for energy efficiency transition in the built environment, sustainable urban development and planning, workplace health and well-being, and nexus approach in energy-water-waste-health.
Medha is a Health and Sustainability Consultant at EDS. Her primary focus is the translation of holistic wellness strategies into the architecture and ergonomics of building design.

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View webinar presentation-Post Covid Workplace Environment