Transforming our Head Office post Covid-19
Sigma, the experts at transforming commercial space, know better than most about the difference it can make when you think about how a space can be approached differently.
What they didn’t expect was to have to apply this to their own recently-refurbished head office space in Castleford, West Yorkshire, however in light of the Covid-19 global health pandemic this is exactly what they needed to do.
Scope of Works
- One-way system (including dedicated building entry & exit)
- Signage; Floor, walls, hanging
- Desk “sneeze” screens
- Revamped desk formation
- Dedicated face fit area
- Shower facilities
- Sanitizing stations
- Magnetic door openers
- Reduced meeting room occupancy
- Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation (MVHR) system
- Convex mirrors in tight corridors
- Light switches replaced with PIR sensors
- Online desk booking
- Updated comms across site
- Led By – Sigma M&E
- Supported By - Sigma Installation, SHEQ
- Duration – 4 weeks
- Objective – Ensuring the Sigma head office is Covid secure and safe for colleagues to return to work
The challenge – responding to an invisible threat
Leading by Example
The company has gone on to make a significant investment in their building to make sure colleagues, clients and visitors are Covid-secure whilst at work. Following the latest government guidance, Sigma has taken steps to ensure its workforce can feel comfortable returning to the office environment and confident that the risk of exposure to the Covid-19 virus has been minimised as far as possible with all reasonable steps taken.
It was also important for Sigma to showcase what can be done in an existing building to achieve this level of compliance as a model for other businesses looking to achieve a covid-secure environment. Sigma completed their head office transformation using only their own workforce, drawing expertise from across the M&E department, the installation teams and the Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) lead. For colleagues who are in roles dealing with clients, sub-contractors and other external parties, it’s key that they can speak about the integrity Sigma has shown in putting their safety first and to be able to articulate how others can benefit from a similar approach.
The solution – creating a covid-secure workspace
Sigma enlisted the expertise of its own M&E team to undertake a full transformation of its office space with the covid-secure principles in mind, with additional input from the SHEQ team. The results are not only fully compliant but have maintained the spirit of the original workspace with bright colours, company branding, helpful signage and discreet screens all in place to ensure a sense of safety.
Things feel different right from the point of arriving at the building. The touchpad entry system is in the process of being replaced with a keycard system and keyring door opener are being trialled. Visitors will be identified through a video-enabled doorbell with the door opened by reception. Once inside, there is a new one-way system in place with dedicated entrance and exit doors. Understanding the flow of its workforce in light of this, new doors have been added where the one-way system could have potentially caused difficulties. Once inside, there is an array of signage, including new digital TV screens, to signal the new system as well as other key messages, such as the need to remain compliant with social distancing rules. To avoid colliding with colleagues whilst moving around, convex mirrors have been installed in tight corridors.
To ensure safety when visitors are arriving in the building, shielding screens are being used to partition the reception area from the main bank of desks. Upstairs too in the main office space, the first thing colleagues will notice is the large PRIDE profile shielding screens have been used to great effect, offering protection to those workers who choose not to work from home. Additional increased sized desk partitions are to be installed to offer a greater protection to those sat within their teams. The desk formation has been addressed too with a new layout that gives an appropriate amount of space for workers to operate in and with clearly visible ticks and crosses showing which desks can and can’t be used.
Taking advantage of the latest lighting technology, light switches have been removed to avoid cross-contamination and replaced with intelligent PIR sensors that are triggered by movement. This has the added benefit of being more environmentally friendly and energy saving, leading to longer-term cost savings. Magnetic doors add to the contactless feel of the new environment as there is now no need to physically touch a door to open it. These new magnetic doors are operated on a timer, ensuring they close at the end of the day and in event of a fire.
In communal areas, new signage reminds colleagues not to group together and to maintain social distancing. Meeting rooms have been addressed in the same manner, with a new maximum capacity set to ensure the safety of all meeting participants. Excess chairs have been removed and all meeting rooms have been set up with digital capabilities to allow for virtual meetings wherever possible.
Hygiene measures are key to keeping the virus at bay and so new sanitizing stations have been set up across the whole of the head office including kitchens, meeting rooms and on the banks of desks. Here, colleagues will find hand sanitiser, wipes and anti-bacterial spray for regular cleaning. In the toilets, capacity has been limited to one person at a time with an internal lock placed on the main door to allow this to be enforced.
A new welfare area has been established with a shower room so those returning from site or who have cycled to work or exercised at lunchtime can still do so knowing they can freshen up when arriving in the building.
Adding to this, colleagues can be reassured of ‘clean’ air flowing through the ventilation system as new Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation (MVHR) unit have been installed in the ground floor space with fresh air pumped in rather than relying on the older air conditioning units previously used. For those who use respiratory gear on site, a new, dedicated fit face area has been established which is headed up by the SHEQ team.
A safety-first approach
The impact of the global health pandemic has threatened many businesses and returning to the physical workplace is going to be a challenge for many. For Sigma, they have approached it systematically, thoughtfully and with the safety of its people at its heart.
The culture that Sigma has carefully curated over the years has been maintained through virtual working; it’s colleagues may have been working from home but utilising technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, communication has been stronger than ever.
As the guidelines evolve and government advice changes, Sigma is ready to respond. They have embraced a change in working style and adapted quickly to a more flexible and agile way or working. Working with their colleagues, they will continue to review the most effective way to deploy people, whether this be working from home, the office, client sites or elsewhere.
For those colleagues who are based in the Sigma HQ, one thing for certain is that they can have every confidence that they are in the ‘gold standard’ of covid-secure environments.
Get in Touch...
UK Tel: +44 (0) 845 521 0258