Reopening Your Office in the Post-COVID World

25 June 2020 / By Alexandrea Stiller
signage in the post covid office

Whether you love it or hate it, remote working won’t be permanent for most of us. We’re returning to a very different workplace in this COVID era. Keeping employees healthy during this transition is every workplace’s priority. While you’re reevaluating your office procedures and design to improve safety in your workspace, signage can be a powerful tool to put in place new changes. As with any big change, communication will be key to a seamless reopening. An email is probably not going to be enough to change years of ingrained habits. Signage is an effective strategy to eliminate confusion.

floor signage in postcovid office

Floor Signage for Traffic flow

Unfortunately, offices were not created with social distancing in mind. Narrow hallways and dead ends are common. These create dangers for collisions and force people to pass by each other in close quarters. Even open plan office spaces can be difficult to navigate when you’re trying to keep 6 ft away from your colleagues.

The best solution is to create one-way traffic throughout your entire buildings. Every building is different, so this will require some time and analysis to decide on the best routes. You may wish to consider temporarily blocking off office sections such as dead-end hallways to avoid spots where the flow of traffic is impossible to keep one directional only. Label building entrances as entrance-only or exit-only.

Once your route is planned, use vinyl floor signage to clearly mark the direction people should be moving. This prevents people passing by in close quarters and prevents collisions or near-collisions. In conclusion, it helps everyone maintain social distancing.

occupancy sign in postcovid office

New Use of Space

With your new safety considerations, you will need to reconsider how you use certain spaces. Huddle rooms and other small enclosed meeting areas cannot be used the same way as before. Discuss with your team if you want to temporarily close off certain spaces or limit the occupancy to maintain social distancing. Clearly post signage indicating these new occupancy limits or marking rooms as closed until further notice.

For all other spaces, consider what regulations you need to keep use of the space safe. CDC guidelines strongly recommend wearing cloth masks for areas where a 6 ft separation is difficult to consistently maintain. You may wish to require masks in conference rooms or workspaces where there is a lot of movement. Clearly communicate these new requirements. Your team must be consistent in their response to ensure the wellness of your entire staff. Avoid any confusion by posting signage in any space that has a new rule, such as “Mask Required at All Times.”

social distancing sign in office

Social Distancing

Grocery shopping, jogging, and visiting the bank are all very different experiences now, but we’ve all learned to adjust to social distancing requirements in public spaces. As we reopen offices, we’ll need to do the same in spaces built for collaboration and working in close quarters. Beside traffic flow issues and meeting rooms, your business likely has other unique considerations that can pose challenges to social distancing.

Identify areas where gatherings are likely to occur. How can you encourage employees to maintain distancing? “Wait Here” floor signage is a good solution for reception desks or elevators where lines form. Even simple “Maintain Social Distancing” reminders will be helpful in areas like break rooms. After all, it’s hard to break years-long habits of socializing in close quarters.

Wipe Down Surfaces Sign

Cleanliness

Good hygiene was always important, but high cleanliness and sanitation standards are especially vital now. Highly visible signage provides a consistent reminder for everyone to adhere to your business’ cleanliness guidelines. This is especially important for communicating any new protocols. Without visible and clear reminders, procedures like wiping down shared surfaces are easily forgotten in the face of years-long routines.

branded floor signage

Branded Signage with MetWest

Combine signage with your branding strategy. Remember, these new safety protocols are probably here to stay for months. Don’t settle for generic signage that’s going to be an intrusive eyesore in your office space for the rest of the year. Consider customizing to incorporate your brand colors, company font, or even your logo.

Right now, businesses across the world are facing the same challenges as they navigate the return to the office. That doesn’t mean that every business requires the same standard set of signage solutions. With MetWest’s custom signage, you can communicate your workspace’s unique guidelines as well as logo and color requirements so that new signage integrates with your space beautifully.

Contact MetWest today to get started!

About The Author

Alexandrea Stiller