As we all fight this pandemic together, we at KTM Solutions have added safety partitions to our offerings to do what we can to help business, schools, and worship venues prepare to reopen safely.
Recently, Mass Design Group published a document on Designing Spaces for Infection Control in which they give five principles to guide design. Although much of their focus is on medical facilities, the principles they outline apply just as well to other environments. Three are especially relevant to partitions and are the basis for the discussion below.
Design for social distance, not social isolation.
In the last couple of decades, many offices have transitioned to an open layout, for a variety of reasons. Easy visibility and access to colleagues can increase communication and camaraderie. However, in the wake of a pandemic many are finding this layout impractical and are rightfully seeking ways to allow social distance between employees. Even so, the lessons of the open-office format can influence the method we choose for separating employees. Clear partitions, as opposed to traditional cubicles, allow coworkers to continue seeing each other in person and collaborating while limiting the opportunity for pathogens to spread.
Temporary shelters are never temporary.
Although we don’t plan to live with the effects of COVID-19 forever, research indicates we must exercise caution for the foreseeable future. In some cases, plastic wrap and tape provided a quick solution to enable businesses to serve customers while limiting contact. But “quick” fixes often remain in place much longer than originally planned. It’s important to remember that the solutions we put in place now will affect customers and employees for a significant stretch of time. As Mass Design Group notes, when you’re looking for equipment to provide additional safety temporarily, “invest in something that will last for a year, not a month.”
Design for people, not just against pathogens.
Since people will have to conduct business in that space for months or years, the space should foster a positive work environment, allowing employees to perform at their best rather than creating extra hurdles for them. In the case of partitions, panels should be custom fit to the given environment—whether office, retail, or education—so that they facilitate business or study rather than get in the way.
Let Us Help
At KTM, we’re committed to providing durable solutions that enhance a post-COVID work or learning environment. As you look for ways to make your space safer without compromising communication or overall atmosphere, let us help you make the most of your space.