Material selection in the post-pandemic workplace.
Assuming you haven’t been hiding under a rock for the past year, you probably are familiar with the effects COVID-19 has had on at least one work industry. Though, one industry you probably didn’t consider right away is interior design, specifically the impact of the pandemic in the workplace.
This industry has undergone a complete renovation; Literally – workplaces around the world are getting a face-lift. In this article, we will take a look at how workplace design will start taking healthcare design industry practices as inspiration for material and equipment selection.
The world has shifted and designers need to consider, even more so, surfaces that are antimicrobial or that reduce transmission of viruses. But that’s not the only shift we’ve seen in our industry. Let’s take a look at some of the health-based safety trends around the new-look office.
5 Post-COVID build materials your workplace should have.
You’ll notice some of these materials are highly used in healthcare – now, the workplace is incorporating them into its design foundations, too.
Antibacterial fabrics will be the chosen build material for things such as curtains and upholstered furniture because these can prevent the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the fibers.
Some of the highest traffic touch-points in our workplaces are office desks, kitchen cabinets, counters, door handles, and knobs. These surfaces need regular cleaning, but they also need to be antibacterial by nature.
One of the most commonly used solutions is manufactured quartz for things like counter tops and potentially desks. There have been antimicrobial laminates introduced recently which have been a hot trend this year.
Some companies have even introduced antimicrobial ceramic and porcelain tiles that can be used for floor and wall coverings.
Most workplace designers will opt for antimicrobial paints for interior walls because they are resistant to mold, fungus, and bacteria. This one is a cheap and easy no-brainer for new-age workplace design.
You may have heard, copper and its alloys, such as bronze or brass, are naturally antimicrobial. For example, potential germs and viruses would survive for less than 90 minutes on a copper surface at room temperature. In contrast, stainless steel would not even slow the growth of bacteria even after nearly five hours.
Cardboard’s relative inhospitality to viruses is also interesting. In fact, the risk that bacteria and viruses are spread from products or packages delivered worldwide over a period of days or weeks is very small. Although cardboard is not a typical architectural material, this is an idea that is being explored more carefully.
Infrastructure materials also matter.
Smart Water Features
Water quality inside workplaces has become a major concern as we know poor water quality can quickly lead to disease spread. It is highly recommended to use ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) sanitization methods, carbon filters, and sediment filters. These are complex-sounding systems, but products to take into consideration.
Proper HVAC Systems
We are seeing many health problems come from mold and fungi in your office’s HVAC system.
Good ventilation should always be a priority, not only to reduce the spread of bacteria, but also to reduce the build-up of pollutants both inside and outside the building, which can adversely affect people with asthma or other respiratory problems.
As always, coDesign has remained at the forefront of workplace design and we’ve started exploring feasibility on installing some of these products in the future.
We’ve got our fingers crossed this thing will go away shortly. In the meantime, we’re here to take immediate action on increasing the health and safety at your workplace.