With the UK Government publishing guidance on working safely during COVID-19, and now with a route map from the Scottish Government, returning to work after lockdown has fully entered the national conversation.
The market is set to be flooded with off-the-shelf ‘safe working’ and social distancing design products, but this will not be a ‘one size fits all’ solution. For each business working across multiple industries (construction, factories, offices, homes, restaurants, remote working/offshore and shops) safe working design will mean different things.
A focused, on-brand approach will allow businesses to create a compliant plan that will place the wellbeing and health and safety of employees (and visitors/customers) at the forefront.
Here’s some top tips from Hampton to help you through the safe working design and communication process.
The Government guidance has outlined a number of key areas to consider when assessing risk in the COVID-19 workplace. This ranges from increasing the frequency of hand washing and 2m apart social distancing rules to the avoidance of face to face working and the introduction of one-way traffic flow through buildings.
Design and communication tools should align to a safe working risk assessment plan. This is critical to ensure compliance, wellbeing and safety is at the core of the design solution.
A number of design and communication problems will need to be solved in the new, safe workplace, including:
- What does the social distancing working environment look like?
- How do you flow traffic safely through the building?
- What is the key information we need to present at each location and touchpoint?
- What signage and internal branding is required in order to direct your employees, visitors and customers safely?
Environmental design projects of this nature should typically start with an internal design audit. Starting from the outside of the building, walking through every employee and visitor/customer journey, noting and recording each touchpoint. This creates a design masterplan that acts as one reference for all.
3. Brand and Design
From physical signage to wall/floor graphics to on screen communication and literature – the employee and visitor/customer journey should be simple and joined up.
Content should be communicated in a human tone that is easy to understand and people focused. The tone of voice should also align with your employer brand and where possible integrate your company values.
The objective is to guide, inform and reassure through clear messaging and design that is 100% focused on the safety and wellbeing of employees, visitors and customers.
Typical outputs could include:
- COVID-19 safe working brand and campaign narrative
- Reception COVID-19 safe working video for visitors
- Internal COVID-19 health and safety working video for employees
- COVID-19 safe working PDF guides/printed literature for employees
- Floor and wall social distancing signage
- Permanent directional and wayfinding signage
- Posters and banners
During the phased return to work period, consulting with employees and testing design early is always recommended where possible:
- Select one floor or area of your building and create a test design environment before rolling out across all areas
- Walk employees through the flow of the building and record their response to social distancing signage and messaging across touchpoints
- Identify employee ambassadors, who will be part of the process from the start, who can also support long-term with fielding enquiries from the team
5. Roll out
Typically, the installation of internal branding projects of this nature would normally happen out-with normal office hours – evening and weekends – in order to avoid disruption. But of course, during lockdown there could be an opportunity to have some more flexibility before employees return to work.
An internal launch campaign is recommended so that will direct employees towards resources that will provide information on how the building will work. Explainer video and PDF literature are all valuable tools to have available via the intranet.
- Invite feedback from the team and take comments on board
- Create a transparent and collaborative culture that has people at the heart
Integrating brand values and leading with design thinking, will help you guide and connect positively with employees as we all begin our post lockdown return to work journey.
UK Government COVID-19 working guidance at a glance:
- Carry out a risk assessment
- Promote the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning
- 2m apart across the business
- Screens and barriers to separate people
- Back to back or side working
- Small groups only
- Increase entry points
- One-way flow through buildings
- Regulate the use of communal area
If ensuring a compliant, safe working environment for your employees, visitors and customers is at the forefront of your mind and you need support to put the above measures in place - Hampton is here for you.