With over 7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, it’s never been more critical for businesses to protect the people that enter their buildings. For many companies, the lobby is the first line of defense in protecting employees and customers.
For the individual waiting, the lobby is a potentially dangerous situation, especially in crowded rooms. As such, building/business managers must implement ways of protecting everyone.
A good line of defense comes in the form of an office lobby design that protects people from the virus that has become a part of our daily lives. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on dealing with this public health threat in your lobby.
We’ve all seen temporary plexiglass partitions pop up around grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and most types of retailers. The same should go for anyone working in the lobby.
These dividers aren’t a sure thing, but they can maintain social distancing and block respiratory droplets. At the bare minimum, we recommend putting up temporary partitions around seating areas and the front desk. If you can, consider making these permanent installations. It’s easy to see that COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere. As such, consider incorporating the aesthetic of the glass into your design. When combined with low wall space, these partitions can be both a safety measure and a visual improvement.
No one with COVID-19 should enter your workplace. One compromised person can quickly infect the entire building if they go unchecked. But how can you tell which people have it? One method is subjecting anyone who enters the office to a temperature check. Since a high fever is one of the virus symptoms, this precaution will help ensure a safer environment.
There are two ways you can take temperature checks. One method is by having a masked employee take the temperature of everyone coming in at specific entrances. They do this with devices that measure temperature by being pressed against the person’s forehead. However, there are some drawbacks to this method. For one thing, it’s slow. It can also potentially expose one of your employees to an infected person. As such, some people may prefer method two. This way involves installing a temperature-sensitive camera at high traffic entrances. This method reads people’s body temperature without breaking social distance. However, installing it can be expensive and requires constant monitoring.
It also doesn’t protect against asymptomatic carriers. These people can spread the disease but don’t exhibit any symptoms.
Even plexiglass and masks aren’t guaranteed protection for the receptionists and people in your lobby. One solution is a virtual receptionist. These types of programs use a combination of pre-recorded video clips combined with real people to assist guests visiting your company.
Typically a kiosk or screen will facilitate the check-in process, offer directory information, or show maps of the area. If the individual using the program needs to speak to a real person, it will direct them to a real-life receptionist via webcam.
These types of management solutions were popular before the COVID era because they helped streamline visitor service. However, the answer is perfect for offices dealing with coronavirus and uses audio and visual communication to maintain social distance between your employees and visitors. The program can even help you screen visitors with potential infections by providing a COVID-19 questionnaire to the check-in process.
If, at any point, an individual answers yes to one of the questions, then it will inform them of your company policies and the next steps to continue interactions based on their responses.
This option eliminates any physical interaction while maintaining an element of personal customer care. You can learn more about the health and safety measures offered by these programs through this guide here.
Previously it was thought that airborne COVID-19 particles couldn’t travel more than six feet in distance. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. New evidence now shows that the respiratory particles can travel beyond the set six feet limit.
This is especially true in places with many people talking or interacting. For example, fitness classes, restaurants, bars, band practices, and crowded waiting rooms are at risk of airborne spread.
In addition to these areas, we also need to worry about everyday places with inadequate ventilation. Poor ventilation causes the virus to sit in the air for an extended period. As such, businesses should ensure that their HVAC systems are working at peak efficiency.
To improve the air quality in poorly vented waiting rooms, consider adding air purifiers. These measures can help reduce the number of germs present in confined spaces.
It’s important that no asymptomatic carriers unwillingly pass the infection on to other people in the sitting area. Unfortunately, the layout of many lobbies sometimes makes it hard to stay six feet away.
Too many clusters of chairs or tables can encourage people to congregate. As such, you should consider moving any furniture you don’t need. That way, you can make small clumps of socially-distanced seating areas.
If you don’t want to remove a bunch of chairs, then there are other options too. For example, turn every two chairs, so they’re facing the way.
Or, you can put colorful tapes or signs across the front of them. This will remind people to maintain social distance while waiting in the lobby.
We hope this article helped show you how an effective office lobby design can help stop the spread of COVID-19 within your office environment. If you’re interested in implementing a virtual receptionist as a safety measure in your lobby design, then we invite you to learn more about the ALICE Receptionist program.
Request a quote today and find out all the other ways it can assist with your business customer engagement needs.