At this point, you have likely read dozens of articles about keeping yourself safe and protected in public spaces. Since we wrote our 4 Step Action Plan for Getting Back to the Office in early June, the CDC’s safety guidelines have not changed very much. As a business owner moving into Phase 2, one of your top concerns will be keeping your in-office team safe as they begin working in the office. Densely packed offices with little room between desks are simply not going to cut it in the post Covid-19 world. Partition systems are a practical solution that enable a larger number of people to work in the same space, while offering protection and a sense of security that will be necessary in the months to come.
Floor Mounted Partitions
Floor mounted partitions are partition systems that can be mounted on the floor. They generally can be made to fit a range of custom fit dimensions, and can be selected to have different colors, finishes and materials. Installation is straightforward and simple, and completely reversible. The capacity of floor mounted partitions to separate large areas, without the permanence of a complete buildout, makes them one of the most popular choices for office division. For offices looking to quickly divide open areas, floor mounted partitions are the most effective and practical solution. Options for floor mounted partitions, include Blox, Flox and Framewall.
Desk Partitions are another way to separate desks, but with the benefit of not taking up additional floor space. There are two types of partitions of the type: permanent and flexible. Permanent desk mounted partitions are drilled directly into the work surfaces. Whereas flexible desk partitions have the flexibility of being easily removed when they are no longer needed. Generally flexible desk partitions are either hand screwed or positioned with the legs of a desk, requiring no drilling directly into the work surface. Keep in mind that, in some cases, depending on the type or desk or the furniture configuration, it may be necessary to have a permanent mounted solution. The primary feature for desk partitions is to divide space and provide privacy, but they can secondarily serve to separate compact workstations to prevent the spread of viral microbes. Options for desk partitions include our Clip Screens, Separation Panels, Mesa Acrylic, Mesa Wrap, Shelter, and Panel Shield.
Ceiling Mounted Partitions
Ceiling Mounted Partitions, sometimes referred to as hanging panels, are partition systems that extend directly from the ceiling. The effect is often aesthetic, giving the appearance of a hanging drape, as the panel gives the appearance of hovering above ground. The installation for ceiling mounted partitions is more complex, and it is also less reversible than a floor mounted version. Ceiling mounted partitions are universally a custom solution and can be modified to feature numerous design elements in addition to serving as a barrier to enhance privacy and protection.
In our blog post Brighten Your Office with Architectural Glass Walls, we write about the efficacy of glass walls in enhancing space division in offices and reducing noise, without compromising access to natural light, and the sensation of being in an open room. An additional feature worth mentioning Post Covid 19, is the efficacy of glass in serving as both a barrier and an easily cleanable surface to prevent the spread viral particles. Architectural glass walls are fully modular and can be installed within a space without the build out that would be required to construct a permanent wall solution. View our architectural glass wall solutions here.
Choosing the Right Materials
Depending on which partition solution you choose for your space, you will have to select the right materials, be it glass, acrylic (also known as lucite, plexiglass), polycarbonate (also known as lexane), or PET felt material. Glass is a transparent amorphous solid that is easy to clean and disinfect but is prone to fragility. You may be moved to choose acrylic or polycarbonate as more robust alternatives to glass. The differences to keep in mind is that while acrylic tends to have a high gloss finish and transparency, polycarbonate is more durable and resistant to chemicals. For offices with routine thorough cleanings, it is recommended to opt for polycarbonate, which has a higher likelihood of withstanding a regular regimen of commercial cleaning/disinfecting chemicals.
Lastly, PET Felt is a strong durable material that is generally made from recycled polyester plastic. Widely chosen for partitions for its acoustical performance, an important feature to mention are its antimicrobial properties. Its porous soft surface is very durable and easy to clean, while additionally credited for pulling particles and pollutants out of the air. As an alternative to a nonporous surface, PET Felt may serve as a useful alternative for your space.
Sterilizing Your Partitions
Sterilizing Your partitions can be as easy as using a commercial cleaner, or by using soap and water. Read the instructions closely to determine which cleaners cannot be used on your partitions. This can extend the longevity of your partitions and prevent any accidental damage. Additionally, opt for partitions made of more durable materials, if you know they will undergo a routine and regular cleaning with strong chemicals.
Let us help!
When moving back to the office, it is important to invest in protective measures that will empower your team to return to their offices with confidence. Consider your plan, your goals and your budget, while executing a safety plan for your team. At OFH, our team of office furniture professionals are willing to offer our assistance, to help you and your team return to the office. Let's get in touch.