New social distancing measures will have a tremendous impact on the world of architecture and design. One sector that saw an immediate need for innovative design solutions was retail, specifically grocery and other essential stores, where one method of controlling airborne germs has been the use of sneeze guards and privacy panels. While some were crudely mounted in order to hastily outfit existing furniture with preventative barriers, the intent and purpose was a useful stepping stone for future design considerations for health and safety. The execution may have started in obvious high-risk environments, but the concept can extend into the workplace and other commercial spaces with shared seating areas and other areas.
Panel brackets are an easy way to retrofit any existing furniture with protective barriers. They mount directly to any furniture and the panel slides into the bracket and then tightens to hold in place. Panel brackets are one of the easy and inexpensive design solutions to create not just a private work space, but also to appropriately space employees returning to the office environment. This privacy allows the user to engage more intently and focus on work while limiting exposure from neighboring work stations and passers-by who may be coughing or sneezing, or even just from talking. Depending on the nature of the space, clear glass partitions are ideal for environments that require communication while translucent panels are best for limiting view for added privacy. Acoustic panels are also great for muting or deadening unwanted white noise and chatter. Find the right size panel for the space and then select panel brackets accordingly based on thickness and height. Panel brackets can mount directly to the desktop or in between desks that are joined together.
It wasn’t long ago that cubicle walls came down in favor of an open concept floorplan to promote collaboration and team-based environments. However, new social safety concerns will likely require a hybrid of the open office with some version of its former self. Rather than fully reverting to stuffy, high-walled -cubicles, a happy medium with reasonable accommodations for privacy and sterility will likely take hold. Open offices with new privacy panels in place and workstations at a reasonable distance apart will satisfy social constructs. Expect panel screens to appear in more hospitality environments as well, including reception, information desks and restaurants and dining areas. Booth seating in restaurants will require additional privacy, and restaurants, as will long shared dining tables with use of configurable privacy screens that are portable and easy to relocate as needed.
No-touch hardware may become a focal point of basic design to prevent spreading germs. Door handles, drawer pulls, and cabinet handles are some of the biggest offenders when considering the amount of shared contact and contamination, so new alternative solutions that allow for ‘hands-free’ operation will extend from the healthcare sector into commercial spaces. Antimicrobial finishes will help surfaces to kill germs on contact in instances where alternative solutions are unavailable and shared touching is simply unavoidable. More focus on less touching could be expected.
Visit www.mockett.com for more information on panel brackets for privacy screens and sneeze guards, as well as no-touch hardware accessories.