Things to do and materials to avoid.

At the time of writing, the lockdown seems like a distant memory, for some a nightmare, but the effects of the pandemic can still be felt, not to mention the economic repercussions. Many people are still working by remote and many companies, especially larger corporations, have extended their smart working agreements until the end of December. But there are also many employees of small and medium enterprises who have already returned to the office, in spaces which during the post-Covid era necessarily need to be rethought.

The pandemic has sped up the process of remoting, which many people liked and continue to like thanks to an alternative method of personal evaluation and new leadership models based on delegation, trust and results, and less so on physical presence. However, regardless of the growth of smart working, it is difficult to imagine a future without the office, the physical place where company culture transpires. And so, office it is, even if many business owners are wondering how they can effectively guarantee safety in the workplace.

What’s needed are smart and safe requisites.

The answer is to look for smart and safe requisites in both the modus operandi and the choice of materials. In the pre-Covid era, a trend had begun to take hold, which was slowly changing attitudes in offices everywhere: that is, the gradual replacement of fixed workstations in favour of desk sharing arrangements. Difficult to monitor, promiscuity is one of the major sources of worry in terms of risk perception. The sole strategy is based on the regular cleaning of surfaces, that is unless private offices can be guaranteed, with an overwhelming return to individual privacy.

Control of risk perception.

Either way, it is essential to choose easy-to-clean materials. Given that nobody was prepared to deal with this type of situation, training is taking place on the job and during this historic time, designers are looking beyond, drawing from various fields. The health sector is the most closely monitored and viable sector from which to learn. Healthcare design has forever studied the use of materials resistant to the most aggressive cleaning products, such as bleach.

Beacon friend to monitor the presence of people.

Although social distancing is an essential rule that depends on each person’s sense of responsibility, technology can certainly assist in monitoring respect for this rule, for example by wearing proximity sensors to independently control one’s distance from other people.

The turning point will be automation. It’s nothing new, it’s already used in the lighting sector and will make its grand entrance to the workplace with people presence monitoring technology – suffice it look at the use of beacons or device apps – but also to guarantee air quality, a pressing and important issue that must be addressed in order to guarantee public health.


Easy-to-clean materials with less joints.

Where is the market headed? The focus is increasingly turning to non-porous materials that are easy to clean and don’t accumulate dust. Metal alloys are the preferred option, but also vinyl or laminate floors that minimise joints, hence a green light for large formats.