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Design Healthcare Trends

Healthcare Facility Design Trends to Lookout for in 2018

HEALTHCARE TRENDS

E4H Environments for Health Architecture, a firm focusing on healthcare exclusively, recently studied and released seven predictions for healthcare facility design trends in 2018. Lets take a look at what is to come.

📐 VIRTUAL REALITY BECOMES A CRITICAL PLANNING TOOL FOR HOSPITAL DESIGN

As VR technology becomes smaller and more mobile, architects and designers have grown increasingly able to collaborate with healthcare clients when it comes to designing these complex spaces such as operating rooms. VR benefits both parties with its interactive capabilities enabling immediate design feedback. Facility efficiency and safety is predicted to increase from VR planning. “VR headset technology breaks through the traditional limitations of a screen to put people “in” the design to experience, evaluate, and comment on everything from casework configurations to outlet quantities and furniture arrangements.”

🏥  MICROHOSPITALS

According to US News & World Report, microhospitals are now operational in 19 states. These mini-hospitals are about 15,000 to 50,000 square feet, open 24/7, and maintain between 5 and 15 inpatient beds for short stay use. This model offers greater accessibility and convenience for residents and is a cost-effective market growth strategy for providers.

📱 TELEHEALTH

We have already seen an increase in Telehealth providers in the past few years with companies like SnapMD, Teladoc, Polycom and more. Healthcare consulting firm Sg2 projects that in the next two years, the volume of virtual healthcare patients will rise 7 percent and in-home healthcare services will rise 13 percent. Sophisticated patient monitors have been installed to allow a seamless consultations especially in specialty services like radiology, psychiatry, and dermatology. Many healthcare facilities will be implementing Telehealth with treatment rooms configured to accommodate remote consultation and an infrastructure for technological equipment. Telehealth technology is also transforming lobbies, common spaces, and admissions areas with kiosks and tablets.

📋 HOSPITALS TAKING NOTES FROM HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY

The healthcare industry has recently noticed a decrease in re-admittance rates for instance, when removing out-patient services from the larger hospital environment. A more consumer-friendly environment has shown to create operational efficiencies and clinical outcomes. A perfect example of this is procedures like bone-marrow transplants (BMTs). Their treatment is unique and involves two phases of extended care; the first phase they are served like inpatients (surgery and post-op). The second, is more of an ‘in-between’ population where patients are vulnerable to infection and require monitoring for complications. For these patients a facility that feels more like a hotel than hospital, with cozier interior design; private suite-style rooms; and specialized air and water filtration systems to protect immune suppressed patients.

📈 BEHAVIORAL HEALTH DRIVES EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT RECONFIGURATIONS

With the recent national opioid crisis and rising awareness of mental health conditions, hospitals are recognizing the need to accommodate cognitively impaired clients more effectively and sensitively. Hospital leaders are taking initiative in finding a balanced way to separate patients who pose a risk to either themselves or others from Emergency Department population while ensuring all patients are treated with compassion and dignity.

🏬  MOVE TO MALLS

While delivery of healthcare services continues to improve, many day to day services and procedures can be performed outside of hospitals and in community locations for ease of access and customer convenience. Established retail locations are ideal for developers of microhospitals, outpatient imaging, urgent care, and medical office buildings. For example, E4H is helping Health Quest in New York to transform a former Macy’s into a new state-of-the-art outpatient medical services facility.

⚕ ACUTE CARE NEEDS CONTINUE TO GROW

As explained above, outpatient services will continue to move from inpatient facilities, but hospitals will continue to see growth in patient numbers. As Baby Boomers age, 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day for the next 20 years and respectively, the total demand for inpatient care will grow. While servuces are pushed to outpatient facilities, architects must design to maximize efficiency of space and movement of medical staff to serve inpatient populations.

Read the original article here.

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Coart Healthcare Tips & Tricks

How to Specify: Acoustics for Every Industry

Having trouble finding the perfect acoustical fit for your industry’s environment? Acoustics are a major architectural function and can make or break a space if not properly addressed. We have laid out a guide to specifying acoustical solutions for your space. Each configuration is made to be fully customizable to your space with various size and art options!

FLOATING SUSPENSION PANELS

SPECIFYING ACOUSTICS

The Floating Suspension Panels are ideal for office spaces as they are great for dividing up open workspaces or acting as a privacy buffer between workstations. With its double-sided art feature, you can chose from different graphics making any space more dynamic. The floating suspension panel can be placed in many other environments as well.

WE RECOMMEND:

  • Open office space
  • Waiting rooms
  • Conference rooms
  • Between desks
  • Private Offices
  • Computer rooms
  • Libraries

THE DIVIDER PANEL

SPECIFYING ACOUSTICS

The Divider Panel can be utilized nearly anywhere thanks to its freestanding, mobile nature. This option is great for anyone not wanting to commit their acoustical panel to any specific area. It is also a great option to create a divide within spaces, such as waiting areas, workstations, or any open floor plan.

WE RECOMMEND:

  • Office desk
  • Hallways
  • Waiting room
  • Retail signage
  • Private offices
  • Open workspace

WALL MOUNT (HORIZONTAL & VERTICAL)

SPECIFYING ACOUSTICS

As the most standard configuration, this system easily mounts anywhere within corporate, healthcare, commercial, and educational spaces. We are proud to recommend this system to any client needing sound improvements when addressing the overall quality of their space. It is our most effective acoustic solution and can be printed up to 100 ft. long.

WE RECOMMEND:

  • Private offices
  • Conference rooms
  • Lecture halls
  • Lobbies and open spaces
  • Reception areas
  • Cafes
  • Communal areas

MULTI-FLOATING PANELS

SPECIFYING ACOUSTICS

Similar to the floating panel, the multi-floating panel is a great addition to any place where you would like to create a privacy buffer, while also leaving the space open to the option of collaboration. Multi-floating panels are great for waiting rooms that you wish to keep private for clients, in between workstations, or even in a private office! Acoustics are a major architectural function and can make or break a space if not properly addressed.

WE RECOMMEND:

  • Open office space
  • Waiting rooms
  • Conference rooms
  • Between desks
  • Private Offices
  • Computer rooms
  • Libraries

CLOUD CEILING PANELS

SPECIFYING ACOUSTICS

For environments with less space but still requiring acoustical absorption, we recommend the Ceiling Cloud Panel. This system is great for educational environments and healthcare environments. Many clients have come to us from the healthcare industry needing art that inspires its patients and allows staff to focus by creating a sound space. For this reason, we recommend cloud panels for healthcare and educational environments or anyone looking for a more spatially accommodating acoustic system.

WE RECOMMEND:

  • Lecture halls
  • Libraries
  • Open workspaces
  • Healthcare clinics
  • Hallways
  • Classrooms

CEILING SUSPENSION PANEL

SPECIFYING ACOUSTICS

The Ceiling Suspension Baffle is a great way to create a welcoming space for those in the hospitality industry. Often times, customers complain about noise levels especially in communal work areas, like lobbies or computer cafes as well as restaurants. The ceiling baffle is a double-sided art system with a high-end aluminum frame for a sleek appearance. Line hallways or cafe’s with acoustic graphics that change dependent on where you are standing for a dynamic and functional space.

WE RECOMMEND:

  • Restaurants
  • Lecture halls
  • Libraries
  • Cafes
  • Communal Seating
  • Open office space

LED WALL MOUNT

SPECIFYING ACOUSTICS

With function, form, and a little extra, the LED Wall Mount is a great statement piece for open workspaces, lobbies, and private offices. A great way to impress clients while keeping your space functional and fit for business. Because of its lighting qualities, we suggest this piece be one of the first your clients see. It can also be very beneficial for lighting an otherwise dim room and creating a more vibrant workspace for employees.

WE RECOMMEND:

  • Lobbies
  • Reception areas
  • Private Offices
  • Restaurants
  • Hallways
  • Hotels
  • Open workspaces
Categories
Client Story Healthcare Latest Projects

Contract’s 39th Annual Interior Awards

A very big congratulations to Clive Wilkinson Architects for taking home two awards this year for Contract Magazine‘s Annual Interiors Awards! Our collaborations with them include Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Publicis Groupe which have both received countless awards for its innovation in design, custom furniture, and overall architectural excellence. Here is this month’s issue which features stories from Clive Wilkinson himself as well as some of our in-house renderings for the project!

PUBLICIS GROUPE HQ

RIC Feature
RIC Feature
RIC Feature
RIC Feature

Large Banquette Workstation + Seating (Top) Bench Workstations with Acoustic Paneling (Bottom)

SHIRLEY RYAN ABILITYLAB

RIC Feature
RIC Feature
RIC Feature

Nurse Station (Right), Think Pod & Phone Booth (Middle), Physician Workstation (Right)

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Uncategorized

What’s Happening to Office Spaces Amidst the Pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic changed every aspect of our lives, from how we socialize, travel and conduct business. One year has passed since COVID began and its ongoing aftermath has created a “new norm” in society, especially in the workforce. This resulted in more companies extending their work-from-home policies into the new year; an on-going response to protect workers from the virus.

While the work-from-home policies remain in place, most are unsure just how long the pandemic will continue. Tenants are scrambling to find ways to extend their lease and/or are continuing to pay rent, even with the possibility that some offices may not return at all. Giants like Google and Amazon had sought corporate campuses for their employees in cities like Seattle, starting back as early as 2010, according to the President of the Local Building Owners and Managers Association. Therefore, pent up demand for office spaces had gone up to 34 percent. Now, 90 percent of those offices remain empty, an unfortunate result of the pandemic. So, why are these large companies leaving office spaces and what is to become of them; how will they be repurposed in the age of a pandemic?

How Office Work Culture is Changing

These times are tough, and while most white-collar workers may prefer to return to their daily office routines to escape the restrictive confines of their homes. Strict COVID guidelines have kept many businesses from sending their workers back in full force. Zillow, a real estate company that has prided in-person collaboration as a part of their work culture, has chosen to become a more “flexible employer.” Thus, giving its employees the option to either continue working from home, or to come into the office, several days a month, if needed for a specific project.

Another company, REI, has changed their work culture for the better, opting for a more flexible working situation; by letting their employees work from home. Furthermore, the company has taken a much bolder approach to their business strategy, by choosing to sell its corporate headquarters, located in the state of Washington. It turns out drastic changes like this can work as REI was able to successfully transfer 100 percent of its staff to work-from-home before the end of the first quarter in 2020. What’s even more unique about REI’s position, is they’ve decided to create smaller satellite offices for employees who prefer to work in an office setting (much like Zillow’s decision to provide workers the options of returning to the office). Even Facebook, has begun allowing their employees to permanently telework, granted if they decided to forgo their large salaries. This would keep more than 48,000 employees at home, therefore dramatically changing the company’s work culture which is known to promote creativity, innovation and in-person collaboration.

The Impact of COVID on Businesses

Ever since the coronavirus had left the global economy in a state of freefall, there was no doubt major cities throughout the country would eventually come across a real estate crisis. The citywide lockdowns and restrictions had complicated matters more for almost every business across all industries; both large and small. Thus, forcing them to either ride out the storm for as long as possible or to permanently close shop. In fact, a growing number of residents in California are leaving as opposed to moving in. Largely because housing costs and tax rates are so high; strict regulations on businesses haven’t really helped either. This is unfortunate because it’s currently turning away potential business for commercial and residential properties, as interest has shifted to the state of Texas. The decision to move has been in the cards, pre-COVID, for many tech companies in Silicon Valley; favoring cities like Austin, Dallas or Houston which are all prime locations for start-ups and large firms alike. Austin for example, is a great music scene and prides itself as more of an “outdoors city.” Tech firms like Hewlett Packard Enterprises had already announced its departure last December from Silicon Valley to Houston, a sign which further implies that Silicon valley has lost some of its prestige as the center of the tech industry.

What’s Happening to All the Empty Office Spaces?

Now that many businesses are leaving in favor of working-from-home or relocating out of state, what happens to all these empty offices? Some industry analysts predict that employee occupancy is expected to return back to pre-pandemic numbers in about 4 years (once the vaccine has reached everyone around the world), assuming that the recent discoveries of new coronavirus strains are kept under control by that point in time.

Tenants may try to turn empty commercial properties into more traditional offices or medical facilities; yet time will only tell. In most cases, it is very expensive to flip these kinds of spaces, though more cost effective than designing and building something from scratch. However, what is less likely to happen is the process of turning office buildings into residential towers. Aside from the fact that most office spaces take up an entire city block, issues such as plumbing and kitchen fixtures would be too costly. Which is why converting to medical/research facilities would be the more likely option; given the fact that most businesses have already adopted or grown more comfortable with the concept of working-from-home. One thing is for certain, the pandemic has changed how most companies conduct business, and hopefully for the better.

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Tips & Tricks Trends

Eating Healthier While Working from Home

The year 2020 is almost over yet COVID-19 remains at large in every community. With the upcoming flu season approaching this winter and the increase in COVID-19 cases once again spiking in countries across the globe; keeping our bodies healthy as possible has never played a more vital role in our lives than now. While the search for a viable vaccine looms, it is important to minimize your trips out in public in order to lessen the chances of catching the virus, in the mean-time, our body’s immune system will need to be strong enough to fight back with the support of a healthy diet.

For those of us who continue to work from home, it is easy to give into the habit of stress eating and binging our favorite comfort foods. For instance, maybe you’re on a conference call, and you’ve started snacking on a bag of chips, and soon after realize the bag is half empty; or you’re stressed from working all day, and forget to eat so you’ve ordered takeout for the 3rd time in a week. One thing’s for certain, adapting to this new working situation has thrown our eating habits out of whack.

While it is safe to say that the previous examples mentioned won’t immediately hurt you, keep in mind that decreasing your intake of junk food in favor of more nutritious foods will prove to be more beneficial to your health during this pandemic.

Below are some tips on how to eat healthier while working from home and a few additional suggestions on what to buy on your next trip to the grocery.

  1. Prepare your meals in advance – The fact that you’re at home, makes you more prone to visiting your fridge, even when you’re not hungry. The freedom to eat whatever you want, whenever you want is very tempting, though it may hinder your concentration with work and overall productivity. Prepping your meals in advance can help prevent unnecessary trips to the kitchen. According to WHO (World health organization), “adequate nutrition can raise your productivity levels by 20 percent on average.” So, dice up those vegetables and marinate your meats ahead of time if you plan on making salads, chicken entrées etc. for the next day, as this is a great time saver. Also, knowing when you’re going to eat everyday should condition the body to decrease your hunger, according to Health.Harvard, eating three to four times a day has some health benefits, such as a “decrease in hunger and fullness.”
  2. Avoid Processed Foods – Eating anything that contains preservatives is usually unhealthy for the most part, whether it’s fast food or frozen dinners at the grocery. While it may be tempting, there is no doubt most processed foods are easy to prepare and consume, which is why so many prefer them over cooking after a long day at work. However, there is a way to incorporate these foods into a healthier diet. If you do continue to buy processed foods etc., look out for the nutrition labels that are color-coded in green and yellow.
  3. Healthier Alternatives to Comfort Foods – Eating healthy while working at home doesn’t have to be boring; it certainly has its benefits too. In fact, you can curve your cravings by making healthier versions of your favorite comfort foods, therefore consuming less high fats, sugars and sodium that are found in most store-prepped items. For instance, rather than dipping your tortilla chips in bean dip or American cheese, why not try prepping a fresh spinach artichoke dip, a tasty alternate with more nutrients and fewer preservatives.
  4. Drink More Water – Keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day is just as important as eating healthy. Dehydration can lead to more headaches and feeling tired, which can affect how you work. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends: 11.5 cups a day for women and 15.5 cups a day for men.
  5. Take A Proper Lunch Break – When you get caught up in your work, it’s easy lose track of time. Making it a point to leave your desk and take a proper lunch break helps prevent you from starving the entire day and could lead to a more productive workflow.

As many know by now, there are several ways to avoid getting the virus e.g., wearing a mask, social distance etc. But maintaining a better diet and strengthening your immune system is just as important and does have a significant effect on how your body will handle battling COVID-19. For those who continue to remain working from home, finding the right kinds of foods will ultimately help improve your productivity.

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Healthcare Tips & Tricks

How to Improve Your Home Office Space

As the global pandemic continues to hinder our way of life, many people remain at home, teleworking from the confines of their makeshift workspaces. Let’s face it, the work from home situation has become quite a drag for many of us. Finding the ideal spot to place your laptop and paperwork can be frustrating, and your coffee table is not exactly the ideal furniture piece to use as a makeshift workstation.

Now that we are reaching the end of 2020 and many people are still working from home. There are several ways to improve your work situation, which could lead to an overall better workflow and mindset. Below are a few useful tips on how to create an ideal ergonomic home office space.

A BETTER WORKSTATION FOR THOSE LONG HOURS

Your desk is the primary workspace and it’s something you should give some thought and investment into. This area is your space for creativity and inspiration for the remainder of your time working from home and therefore it’s important to make some adjustments to your workplace. For example, alternating where you sit and stand throughout the day to boost your productivity and maintain energy levels can lead to positive results.

While the sit-stand desk would be the ideal furniture piece to use when working long hours of the day, most people unfortunately do have access to one during these hard times. However, you can improvise and use an alternate product to maintain a healthy workflow; and the best alternate option to the sit-stand desk is a standing desk converter. So, what makes this a reliable option to the sit-stand? These products are very easy to install and cost effective. Standing desk converters are essentially monitor stands that are mounted on your table and can be highly adjustable, so that you have the flexibility to move your monitor with ease.

GOOD POSTURE IS THE OTHER HALF TO THE SOLUTION

Using the standing desk converter is just half the solution to maintaining a better workflow and creating a more productive workplace; the other half is practicing good posture. Some things to remember as you sit and stand throughout the day are:

  1. Keep an arm’s length between you and the computer screen
  2. Before you sit, make sure to adjust the level of your seat so that your feet are touching the floor and your knees are kept at 90 degrees
  3. Make sure your computer screen is positioned at or below eye level.
  4. Change your posture often and stretch

Practicing good posture may take some time getting used to, but the end results are worth it. Not only does it reduce back pain but also increases energy levels, it also helps your balance. According to Harvard Health, working on balance can strengthen your abilities in all outdoor sports activities; like golf, tennis, running and skiing.

BENEFITS TO NATURAL LIGHT IN YOUR ROOM

While practicing good posture and improving your work area are important factors to creating an ideal home office, having a well-lit home can alter your workflow for the better.

According to Elemental Green, most working individuals spend about 90 percent of their time working indoors. That means less exposure to fresh air and sunlight. More data from research collected over the past decade have shown that a lack of sunlight has been proven to show an increase in negative health effects. In fact, less sunlight means less vitamin D intake, which therefore can lead to muscle pain, tiredness and fatigue. Other negative health effects from lack of sunlight like cognitive issues, depression and an increase in weight have also been prominent in more recent health studies.

However, working from home can have its benefits, as you’re more in control of your workspace than inside an office building. Opening your shutters and blinds during the day can certainly prevent the aforementioned health effects and therefore improve your overall well-being. Some benefits to natural light include:

  1. Using natural light is a money saver and can reduce your electrical costs every month.
  2. Your concentration levels are increased, especially in the morning when the sunlight is at its most brightest. Letting your home soak in the sun every morning can also help increase productivity
  3. Your stress and anxiety levels will be reduced: taking the time to stand out in the sunlight for about 30 minutes in the morning can help keep you calm.
  4. Natural light can also help your immune system: Research has shown vitamin D plays a critical role in T cells functionality (a white blood cell that’s important to the body’s immune system).
  5. Natural light can also help fend off depression: staying indoors for prolonged periods of time, especially during the coming months ahead where we experience less daylight can lead to SAD (season affective disorder.) a form of depression that relates to the changes in season, especially during the fall and winter.

Exposure to natural light is just as important to home ergonomics as a standing desk converter because of the many health benefits it provides.

Teleworking during this unprecedented time has been quite a challenge, especially for those with family at home. However, the idea of changing your work situation based on these steps can drastically improve your mindset and lead to more positive results.

Categories
Design Materials Trends

The Useful Properties Of Epoxy Resin

The best thing about working with epoxy resin is that it can be used with just about anything. The kinds of products people create with this substance are skies the limit; from mold making to jewelry and even cheese boards! What is it about epoxy-resin that makes it so popular and fun to work with?

We’re going to explore the unique properties of epoxy resin, how its used, and most importantly how it’s applied to furniture making.

What is Epoxy Resin?

This material is a thermoset plastic (polymer) that cures when mixed with another catalyzing agent (or hardener). The most common epoxy resin is produced from the reaction of two substances called bisphenol-A and epichlorohydrin. It’s chemistry and ability to polymerize with other catalyzing agents has made its application quite broad. Epoxy resin also serves as a base material for many applications such as paint, coatings, adhesives, and even industrial tooling. According to 3dChem, “commercially available variations to use with epoxy allow cure polymers to be produced with a very broad range of properties.” To sum up it all up, epoxy-resin is a very viscous substance that hardens over a period of time when mixed and exposed to other materials.

What makes this substance so useful throughout all applications is that it’s known for having adhesive qualities, the ability to be heat and chemical resistant; and have good mechanical and electrical properties. This makes it quite useful in the production of industrial-grade materials and tools like laminates, molds, fixtures; or electrical systems like motors, generators, and transformers.

While there are a variety of reasons why epoxy resin remains incredibly useful throughout every industry, one of its most popular commercial uses is in furniture making.

Filling In knots and holes with epoxy resin.

Epoxy Resin in Furniture

While it’s known that utilizing resin with furniture can also be handy for repairs (due to its adhesive qualities and being waterproof). It is also used for artistic purposes and like other industries that have various commercial uses for epoxy resin, furniture making has creatively applied it to often fantastic results, therefore making resin furniture a style of its own. Simple pieces like credenzas, benches, and shelving units have benefited from epoxy resin because it heightens the aesthetic with a touch of class.

The Art of Resin Tables

How designers incorporate resin into their furniture is also an art form of its own. The shapes and variety of materials to use with epoxy resin are entirely up to the designer, but it’s the production process that makes this kind of furniture design incredibly unique. Quite arguably, the most sought-after material with resin is wood. When it comes to applying resin in wood furniture, one of the many shapes designers will use is live edge (slabs of wood that retain the natural appearance). There are no changes to the slabs, but areas like knots and holes are filled with resin to smoothen out the surfaces. The end result to every furniture piece that uses live edge are striking since the shapes are never the same size and form; every piece ends up looking completely different than the last.

Pouring epoxy resin into river table.

Other kinds of wooden furniture that use resin, like river tables greatly benefit from live edge wood because of the unpredictable nature of the substance. The fact that epoxy resin is so viscous allows it to ebb and flow (before hardening) or change gradation in color when using resin dyes; certain sections of the table may appear murkier than others, resulting in a more water-like effect to the design.

What makes epoxy-resin very popular is its ability to be applied to just about anything. Whether it be for repairing purposes, engineering, or even making art; there is no doubt that it is highly useful for commercial applications, especially when it comes to furniture.

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Healthcare Trends

Life Outside the Office Amidst a Pandemic

Life Outside the Office Amidst a Pandemic

We are already more than half way into 2020 and the novel coronavirus pandemic for the most part, has kept everyone around the world at home. The summer of 2020 has pretty much been officially cancelled as large indoors areas remain closed as well as some beaches and parks (with restrictions). While businesses like restaurants and local shops continue to implement safety procedures in order to keep their doors open. One thing remains certain, our way of life has been drastically altered due to the social distancing rules currently being implemented; masks are now required in order to enter any indoor setting, most retail stores that remain operational offer “curbside pickup” as the safest alternative to online shopping.

The concept of “person-to-person” interaction has slowly begun to fade from our very lifestyle as we continue to find new and creative ways to remain apart from each other. If social distancing has changed office life, education and retail shopping, how does it affect other aspects of social gatherings?

The New Dining Experience

One of the largest industries currently being affected by COVID-19 is the restaurant/dining experience; a visit to the bar with your fellow coworkers and friends seemed altogether like a relatively safe thing to do. There was no need to second guess whether or not you would get sick, let alone face certain death from simply interacting with another person. Since the virus has forced people to remain cautious of what to touch in public and where not to go, many have chosen to refrain from visiting their local establishments, which in effect, has taken a toll on many of these struggling businesses.

Restaurants and bars in cities across the country have either been forced to remain closed for safety reasons, and for those that are still operational, have been required to impose stricter rules regarding hygiene and social distancing. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has required that all establishments like bars taverns, breweries and other places that serve alcohol not to serve indoors. For establishments that do not serve customers food, are required to only serve customers outdoors. While this dampens the overall dining experience, that has not stopped people from visiting their local establishments. In Los Angeles, the city of Burbank has recently shut down streets in the downtown area to make room for restaurants to serve customers outdoors; as more chairs and tables are set up outside.

Large Indoor & Outdoor Venues

The coronavirus has also greatly effected other establishments and venues that generally have large gatherings. Places like movie theaters have been closed indefinitely due the pandemic. Large go-to theater chains like AMC and Pacific Theaters have remained hopeful for a soft opening; yet many have been met with disappointment that these places remain closed until further notice. Although, the public movie experience hasn’t completely shut down as drive-in movie theaters have been gaining popularity these past few months. In fact, large corporations like Walmart have made it a point to convert 160 of its parking lots across the country to drive-in theater, starting in August. This approach to the theatrical experience will hopefully help encourage families to leave their homes and take part in a venue that’s community driven this summer and for the coming months ahead.

Like many other venues that have been affected by the shutdown due to COVID-19, such as concerts, theme parks and art museums. Other major venues like conventions have also been forced been cancel this year; particularly Comic-Con International. The indoor venue is held in San Diego, CA every summer and is the largest convention of its kind in the world. Given the unfortunate circumstance, the event is being held online (as of this past Wednesday) for the first time in it’s 50 year history. Access to the online convention is free to the general public.

While there is a great sense of uncertainty faced during this pandemic, we can only hope that it will pass in time and that society will return to some form of normalcy in the coming months or years. Yet, the questions still remain: will our businesses thrive financially, the longer we continue to work from home? Will wearing masks post-pandemic become the new norm? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain, life outside the office has definitely changed.

Categories
Design

Reworking Interior Office Spaces During COVID-19

What will our offices look like in the near and coming future ahead? That is the question many designers have been thinking about as they prepare for the inevitable: our gradual return to the work-place environment. The idea of not being able to shake hands or stand beside your fellow coworker in a meeting may seem surreal for those already preparing the return. However, this doesn’t mean everyone will be sent to their stations immediately, businesses from every industry have yet to rework office layouts in compliance with CDC safety guidelines on social distancing. Returning to work will take time as companies are implementing return-to-office strategies in several phases.

Having that said, interior designers and architects will have to reevaluate their floor plans on how and where to place employees in an office space. Because ultimately, this pandemic will change how people view working indoors, both in the near-term and long-term.

The Near-Term Effects of Coronavirus

Looking at the situation in the near-term; office life remains an integral part to the furniture industry. Collaboration and teamwork are the primary principles we value as designers to generate innovative ideas as a collective whole. By taking those principles into consideration, designers have been actively working to retrofit their spaces with the resources currently available to them. For example, a shared workstation might not be the ideal work area without implementing sneeze guards or tall free-standing divider panels. Here at dTank, Principal David Sanchez and Founder Reto Eberle have been working around the clock with Gecco Vision, a product development company to design an immediate solution called “Sneeze Shields,” a product that will protect those working on the front lines in every industry today.

The Long-Term Effects of Coronavirus

So how will the furniture industry cope with coronavirus in the long-term? Designers around the world will continue to create more protective solutions that strictly revolve around reducing the risk of getting infected. Solutions like wearing a mask and gloves might not be enough to “water-down” the sense of fear and caution people may have when returning to those long work hours in an indoor environment. Thus, the demand for more individual desks may rise in favor of shared worktables.

Even after social distancing is lifted, working from home could remain in effect until a vaccine has been made. According to Kelly Griffith, a principal at the architectural firm called NBBJ, “much of the heads-down-work will continue to happen at home and the physical workplace becomes a place to connect with others.” Could this mean that social office spaces like conference rooms and physical work-spaces will be utilized solely for special work-related events? Only time will tell.

Though, who is to say that coronavirus will be around three to five years from now? Businesses that have been hard at work, making COVID-19 protective gear like N95 respirators masks, divider panels etc. are continuing to stick to their respective markets. Economist and methodologist, Alan Beaulieu, PhD. of ITR Economics suggests that fear of the virus will possibly die down once a vaccine has been developed. Which can only mean that down the line, the daily use of coronavirus protective gear will slowly become obsolete.

The Road to Recovery

While there are still many details scientists have yet to discover about the coronavirus, it is important to remember that the world will eventually recover. Though we may never return to that sense of normalcy we once knew in the pre-pandemic world, society will adapt and move forward; and that applies to how we will work in an office environment.

Yet, knowing how much of a physical and mental toll this virus has had on employees across the globe, business shall continue to be understanding and show moral support during these unprecedented times as we continue working from home out of caution, because ultimately, safety comes first for everyone.

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Tips & Tricks

Preparing a Video Call While at Home

There is no doubt given the current conditions we are all under, that working from home (WFH) has become the primary work-model these past few months. Whether it be for professional or personal use, online communication has become our new reality.

For those of us who aren’t working out in the field, many have been ordered by their employers to remain in their homes until further notice. It only seems like yesterday offices held team meetings in conference rooms or that creative work areas fostered teamwork and collaboration on the spot. Now that businesses have shuttered their office doors, the primary means of communicating has shifted indefinitely to online apps.

Communication is key and companies are striving to maintain and establish that sense of efficiency into their teams’ workflow. Applications like Google Hangout, Slack, Zoom and Clockify are just some of the many tools utilized in today’s working environment.

Having that said, telecommuting has evidently provided positive results for businesses. In fact, working from home can benefit employees by increasing productivity. According to a summary provided from Clockify, workers are proven to remain productive and work “1.4 days per month more and procrastinate 10 minutes per day less than” those working in a normal office environment.

Online communication can take time getting used to for those in favor of working in a traditional office setting. Which is why we have provided a list of five simple steps on how to prepare for video calls while working from home.

  1. Shutdown All Other Applications:

Your computer may operate much slower if there are plenty of programs running in the background. Video calls require a large number of resources in order to properly function, so be sure to turn off any applications, windows and other browsers you may not need during your video call.

2. Prep Before Sharing Your Screen:

Let the other people in your household know that you are going into a call, that way they do not disturb you. Also, if you are planning on sharing your screen with a number of people, put away any objects in your desktop background that are personal; which you might find potentially embarrassing during the screen share.

3. Presentation Is Key:

Looking presentable to your boss and coworkers is not only necessary, but also considered a professional courtesy. Despite working from home, it is important you look the way you would at the office. Keep your camera at a straight face position for your optimal angle, anything otherwise may be considered unflattering.

4. Choose a Decent Background:

The background you choose is just as important as the way you present yourself onscreen. Find a suitable area in your home with ample natural light. If your home does not have much sunlight, you can use a lamp. Avoid standing behind busy backgrounds and instead, choose a place in your home that is neutral; a wall with a frame or two would be an ideal example.

5. Come Organized and Prepared:

It is important to keep in mind that even though you’re at home, sitting behind a screen, you are still attending a professional meeting. That means, getting acquainted with the material and having it readily available beforehand is pivotal. Especially if you’re in a position that requires you to share files/documents with other members of your team. The awkward silence of others waiting as you rummage through files is a situation best avoided.