Workspaces are going to look a lot different in the not-so-distant future. Whether on the high street, hospitality, or the office, getting back to work will feel a little uneasy for a while. If you’re in the position where the workspace is currently empty, view this as an opportunity to make some improvements while no one is around.
From a new coat of paint to updating customer payments systems, here are some ways you can get workspaces ready.
A fresh lick of paint
If you walk into a recently refurbished Starbucks, McDonald’s, Urban Outfitters or The Body Shop, what is one feature they all have in common? (I will give you a hint: look at the walls and ceiling) They all use anthracite grey paint throughout. In fact, many high street stores are moving away from whiter than white shades for more natural-looking grey slate and even light brown tones. It was extremely common in stores over the last decade or so to be white. I think this was in large part a reaction to brands copying how Apple stores looked, but even the tech giant has gone a light grey all over refurbished stores.
This grey style is on-trend right now and opting for a muted grey which is highly scrubbable will give you a nice refresh on the walls with a paint that can take a few knocks. In retail, a mid-sheen satin is your best option, while those giving the office a new lick of paint should opt for eggshell and matt greys.
Leaning heavily on contact-free solutions
It wasn’t so long ago that asking a friend to borrow £20 would simply be a case of them pulling the money out of their pocket and handing it over. Looking into my crystal ball, it is a safe bet to say that way of handling cash at the customer level is going to be even more of a rarity in the future. Many businesses, especially takeaways, are opting for card only payment systems as handling cash in the pandemic age is seen as too much of a risk.
Contact-free payment options are refreshingly varied and cheap, depending on where you look. While larger stores will be tied in with contracts already, small and independent businesses have the flexibility to play around different payment products until they find one which suits. The two big names, WorldPay and Barclaycard, have the cheapest card readers but will place users on a monthly fee which varies by volume. Notable names like SumUp, iZettle & Square provide the cheapest readers and get competitive amongst each other, as they are a buy-only solution. I recommend weighing them up before jumping at the first brand you see.
Consider maximising workspace without expanding
Working from home will invariably change how many people you have in offices if the current status quo is working out OK. When everything goes back to normal, if your ideal scenario is to have staff balance being in the office and working from home, take a step back and think about how much workspace you can let everyone work with.
Many people will have trepidations sitting close to co-workers. If staff levels will be lower while you’re figuring out the balance, space out desks. Some more “breathing room” will help staff feel at ease. Did a desk originally have four people on it? Set it up for two. Were files kept on desks? Create a space for filing to declutter work areas etc. Small measures like these will help staff feel comfortable.
And don’t forget hand sanitiser!
That’s my two cents on what you should be doing now while staff are staying safe. Just remember to stock up on hand sanitiser and disposable masks for staff to use. It will help everyone feel more comfortable when returning to the new normal.
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