Reception and entrance spaces. How should it change?
It is still too early to estimate the damage caused by the global pandemic, but it is certainly a good time to think about how things will change. We can expect changes to increase health safety across all areas of life, and this will include our workplace environment.
The reception, lobby and sales showroom of a company are in this respect among the most high-risk locations. It is here we see the greatest movement and rotation of people from the firm and outside. Whilst we only recently started to adjust these spaces to a more agile method of working, impromptu meetings and new forms of cooperation, today we must consider ways to change these spaces to protect the health of our employees.
What are the options?
The task facing designers of workplace environments is how to maintain the character of entrance spaces whilst also providing maximum protection for people within the firms. In our experience companies should focus on three main areas.
Smart personal lockers
Ever more employees are having personal parcels delivered to their work address. Smart personal lockers with electronic locks saves space and reduces the movement of people from outside.
Glass in the interior is favoured by architects for its quality of optically connecting zones and seemingly increasing space. Glass has now also come to the fore for its hygienic properties.
How can we divide up large spaces, reduce the movement of people and set an optimum capacity and social distancing in public spaces? Modular soft seating is an ideal solution.
1. Smart personal lockers. For a new generation of employees.
Facility managers of large office centres have already had to respond to a blurring of the boundary between personal and working life. Agile approaches to work and a greater number of people in motion is gradually changing certain operation models. One of the more visible aspects of the new trend are reception areas overflowing with personal parcels.
Large office centres attend to perhaps a thousand parcels in a week. This represents hundreds of curriers and full-time work for 1-2 people.
Some receptions in large centres are already unable to cope with the increased load and entrance areas, which should make an impression on visitors, are often reminiscent of a postal depot. The increased movement of curriers also represents an undesired health risk.
A solution can be found in the form of “smart personal lockers”. Lockable boxes with electronic locks can be placed directly in the entrance space, or even off the company premises. Already new services are appearing, such as mypup, which installs lockers at your address, takes delivery of all your parcels at logistics centres and make all the deliveries at once, once per day.
Do you want your employees to feel at home in the office? Forget about free food and table football. The experience of our clients shows that today you will earn most bonus points when you allow employees to have their private parcels delivered to work.
A smart P.O. box saves space and reduces health risks
Smart lockers supplied by TECHO are fitted exclusively with tried and tested locks from the Vecos brand, and they can be controlled using smart phone via the application Releezme.
Using the “smart” locks and online administration you can easily create user groups or groups of locks. A typical example is the setting of access to several lockers on various floors for given authorised users, such as employees from the accounts department.
Thanks to the software you can assign some lockers to permanent users (Static Locker) and some for visitors and interns (Dynamic Locker). They must be regularly released (e.g. each evening), which ensures sufficient capacity for the following day.
Data shows that up to 70% of space in lockers is used only once in 3 months.
Smart locks can be connected with entrance cards, with printers, with company catering etc. It therefore enables you to administer everything through a single employee card.
- It enables effective control and reduction of costs in terms of volume of office or storage furniture.
- Locks can also be used in a restricted regime without an internet connection. This regime is, with regards to the lower price, suitable for schools. In this case they are controlled by a panel on each set of lockers.
- Connection of the locks and their remote administration enables maximum use of the dynamic office, flexible response to employee requirements for storage space and better planning of space requirements for the future.
TECHO is a leading supplier of furniture with integrated security elements. You can choose from metal or MFC and they come in several standard dimensions. We can adjust the design to your requirements. Please contact our sales people and we are ready to agree on the most demanding requirements.
Carcasses of metal cabinets are made from 0.8mm sheet steel. As standard they come with adjusting feet in the cabinet plinth to level the product on uneven floors. The surface finish of doors can be chosen by the customer from a range of options.
MFC Lockers are made from standard material. 18 mm laminated chipboard is used for their production. The customer can specify a different surface finish for the doors than for the carcasses.
2. Transparent protection against invisible threats
To date, our attention when designing shared spaces has focussed primarily on issues related to acoustics. Physical barriers of various sizes can offer not just acoustic comfort, but also provide users with a feeling of privacy and safety.
In reception zones we are seeing glass elements more often. Glass partitions are ideal in cramped offices, where they help to optically enlarge the space.
Ever more important, however, are the hygiene qualities of glass. It is difficult for dirt to adhere to its perfectly smooth surface. It can easily be cleaned with soap, or a solution of Isopropyl Alcohol.
Glass is increasingly used in the ever-popular telephone booths. Our parent company, Ahrend, offers three ranges that combine excellent acoustic insulation and a reasonable amount of glass.
First aid for employees in the front line
At the current time we are witnessing a high demand for quick solutions for the front line. It is already possible to protect your employees working on reception, or at counters using acrylic shields.
TECHO produces and supplies to its customers transparent screens in several standard dimensions and finishes. We are ready to act quickly whenever our assistance is required. Please contact our sales department for more information.
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3. Low seating. Take control of open space
Whether we like it or not, fewer people want to work at a desk in an office. We work when and where we want. In a hotel lobby, at reception, in hospital, in a café or a co-working centre. It is sufficient to have an internet connection and, in most cases, a power socket. It is also possible to relax better in the same places. Low seating offers the opportunity to combine requirements for work and rest in one place, and in the future to be able to better organise the movement of people and capacity of shared spaces.
Where is this suitable?
- Waiting rooms
- Hotel lobbies
- Sport facilities
You can use the Ahrend Recharge collection to create a place for a short spell of relaxation, or consultation. You can recharge both your own batteries and those of your devices, because the individual modules have phone charging options.
A total of three different sizes will suit any sized space. Larger items work best in a lobby, or a reception zone, and the small items are better suited to an office for impromptu gatherings with colleagues.
To improve the level of hygiene, most items can be delivered upholstered in special fabrics that can be cleaned using alcohol-based disinfection products.
The Embrace range of modular furniture offers various special solutions and they are suitable for both large lobbies and smaller spaces. Using the basic modules, it is easy to create individual zones designated for work, meetings or relaxation. You also have full control over the spacing and number of people in one place.
We offer dozens of low seating product ranges and other accessories for lobby and reception areas. In our catalogue you will find products from the whole Ahrend group.
Other hygiene measures
Caution always pays dividends, and this is especially true with respect to protection against viral infections. Learn about the new options for disinfection, maintenance and prevention.
Polymer disinfectant products with broad spectrum virucidal, bactericidal and fungicidal properties which, in contrast to alcohol-based products, are not volatile and are suitable for application using fogging, i.e. as a fog or mist that reliably reaches all surfaces in a space, including those that are typically inaccessible. In contrast to ozone, which primarily disinfects the air, polymer-based disinfectants offer long-term protection of up to 21 days.
Entrance cleaning zones
Layered cleaning mats with an anti-bacterial component have so far been used mainly in healthcare and food processing operations. However, is possible that we will also come across them in office centres. The adhesive surface of individual layers with a height of 35 microns catch dust and dirt from shoes or trolly wheels. Each layer is for single use, after which it can easily be peeled off and the newly revealed layer used.
Vinyl covers with a polyurethane outer surface were developed under the Camira brand two years ago. The new material can stand up to the most demanding environments such as healthcare, transport and hotels. The surfaces are resistant to bacteria and mould, can stand up to rough treatment and can be cleaned with alcohol and standard chlorine-based cleaning products.
If you have any questions concerning safety of your office operation and equipment or commercial premises please contact our consultants. We will be happy to help you.