As offices reopen, facilities managers will need to quell occupant anxiety. Health and wellness will be a crucial part of that strategy.
Will this place make me sick? That’ll be the question on the minds of anxious occupants as they begin returning to offices. And it’ll be up to you, the fearless facility manager, to allay those fears.
That’s no small order.
The coronavirus pandemic will create a fundamental shift in how the workspace is conceived, designed, and operated. Never before has implementing strategies to benefit occupants’ mental health and physical well-being been more critical than now. Indeed, health and wellness strategies will be inextricably linked to the new normal of office design and operations. “Health and wellness will move from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have,’” says Paul Scialla, founder and CEO of Delos, and founder of the International WELL Building Institute. “The pandemic is really bringing the importance of health and wellness front and center.”
Yes, the new normal of the immediate future of social distancing, more-frequent cleaning, and limiting exposure to high-touch surfaces will be crucially important as occupants return to the workplace. But also, facility managers will need to confer with business leaders to develop ongoing staggered work-from-home and desk-hotelling policies, as well as create the infrastructure and implement the technology to make this possible. And finally, facility managers will need to ensure ongoing projects that actively encourage health and wellness — especially those that complement money-saving sustainability measures — remain at the top of the priority list.
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