This roadmap offers a brief overview on how to modify your workspace to reduce the risks associated with COVID-19. 

For a more detailed and bespoke guide to suit your organisation, please get in touch


  • Appoint a multi-disciplinary change management team
  • Responsible for championing the return-to-work plan, from initial implementation to include ongoing monitoring and reviewing, training and communication.
  • Engage with staff across multiple channels to gather a solid understanding of their thoughts and concerns around returning to the office.
  • Encourage feedback on their experience of working from home, including positive and negative outcomes. 
  • Use this exercise as an opportunity to re-connect with staff, reflect, and re-assure them that their safety is top of the agenda.


  • Carry out an extensive review of current company policies and procedures to cater for COVID-19 specific considerations and to bring them in line with HSE and Government guidelines (HSE Guidance link).  
  • Pay attention to ‘Corporate and Social Responsibility’ and ‘Health, Safety and Welfare’ policies.
  • Set HSE compliant standards for physical distancing, cleaning and hygiene, shared equipment and services (e.g. door handles, a/c controls, mail etc.), waste disposal, reception and welcome areas, parking, lifts, stairs and walkways. 
  • Include visitor policies and procedures to include deliveries.
  • Establish protocol for what happens when a member of staff is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and when a deep clean is required. 


  • Consider who is at risk and determine how likely it is that someone could be exposed.
  • Identify what business activities/situation might cause transmission of COVID-19. Act to remove those where possible or control the risk if not.
  • Communicate to your staff, explaining the measures you’re taking. They may provide valuable solutions on how to control risks.
  • Establish which areas present high/medium/low risk of transmission of COVID-19.


  • Set capacity limits and staffing levels for all areas of the workspace, from point of entry to exit. Include workstations, meeting rooms and communal areas. These limits will feed your approach to staggered shifts and rota systems for work/lunchtimes/meetings etc.
  • Re-assess floorplans to reduce the number of desks in line with the 2m social distancing rule.
  • Re-orientate furniture (e.g. sofas and benches) to avoid staff and visitors having to face each other. Leverage existing furniture to set visual boundaries and cue desired behaviour.
  • Implement a one-way traffic system to accommodate physical distancing, including ‘holding/passing’ areas to avoid bottlenecks in narrow spaces (stairwells, corridors etc.).
  • Place sanitisation stations and PPE dispensers at entry and exit points around the workplace as well as ‘touch down’ points.
  • Reduce touch points and shared items (e.g. stationary) where possible. If doors are propped open, ensure they aren’t fire doors.
  • Install barriers/shields in areas of higher traffic or risk. Retrofitted, desk and freestanding shields are an ideal short-term solution that require minimum investment.
  • Moveable freestanding shields not only protect personal space, but they provide structure to any space and are easy to clean.
  • Modular and pop-up shields are an ideal practical solution for both privacy and protection.
  • They can be retrofitted to workstations, benches and meeting tables as well as canteen and reception surfaces.
  • If possible, identify a ‘quarantine room’ should anyone exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 while at work.
  • Consider allocating a ‘wellness room’ where staff can go to de-stress.
  • There are a number of IT and hardware solutions that reduce the risk of contamination.
  • From contactless lockers, automated lighting and a/c controls to wellness monitors with facial recognition and automatic temperature reading. 
  • Mist systems and mobile UV light units to sanitise office areas as well as air sterilisers and purifiers. Where possible, use materials that have anti-bacterial or anti-microbial qualities.

Visual cues and signage

  • Use floor markings to encourage physical distancing and direction of traffic. 
  • Name tags are a simple accessory that can be placed on top of desk screens, chairs and storage.
  • They provide an intuitive and immediate way to avoid usage by multiple individuals.
  • Signage is also an effective tool for re-assuring staff that safety is paramount and for re-enforcing company culture and values.
  • Signage to remind staff of capacity limits, handwashing and sanitising instructions as well as instructions for deliveries and visitors.


We may not know how long COVID-19 will endure, but disruption and uncertainty in the long term are a given. Operational resilience and vision will form the bedrock for growth across industries and government sectors globally and our ability to respond and adapt to changing conditions will determine our longevity and success.

For a more detailed, longer-term approach to creating workspaces that are truly agile and fit for future purpose, from an initial audit designed to determine whether your current workspace is appropriate, to the science behind designing workspaces where talent and leaders thrive, please get in touch

Posted in Company News, Coronavirus, Knowledge PodTagged ,

Fi Mathieson

Fi is passionate about the workspace revolution - how a human centric approach to design where choice and wellbeing merge seamlessly with an organisation's vision and culture to provide inspiring workspaces where people want to be, rather than where they have to be.

Download the .pdf brochure