Businesses adapt office spaces amid pandemic

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 6:01 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Back in March the Coronavirus pandemic forced many businesses to send their employees to work from home, and now that many restrictions have been lifted some businesses are finding a way to welcome those employees back to the office.

In the world of design, keeping employees safe and healthy has always been a top priority, however it’s hard to prepare for a pandemic.

Interstate Office Products Business Development Specialist James Gaspar said, “Well-being in general has always been a topic of focus in interior design, how are we designing a space to support the health of the employees working in it? We just never thought that virus spread was going to be a component of that well-being.”

Interstate Office Products in Sioux Falls says they’ve been constantly helping businesses adapt to safety guidelines since March.

Some have added a barrier between employees, and added extra space between them while others are struggling to get back to full capacity.

Gaspar added, “There are some that are still struggling to figure out how exactly they are going to bring everyone back because they were just so dense before this started. That’s why you are seeing alternate work schedules, maybe I work one week in the office and one week at home, or I can come in Monday, Wednesday, Friday.”

On July 27th Great Western Bank began to welcome back employees at a 50% capacity rule at some of their locations, and for their largest office in downtown Sioux Falls they’ve added some extra safety measures.

Head of People and Culture at Great Western Bank Andy Pederson said, “You either have to be six feet apart, your desks have to be six feet apart, or six feet wall in between them, but with a 50% rule in all of our locations that are big ones we’re able to do a checkerboard type thing. We just move seats around so people don’t have to sit closer than six feet together.”

And even during tough economic times, Interstate Office Products has seen businesses invest in their employee's safety.

“You’d expect to see people maybe shying away from making investments, but at the same time they understand that it’s more valuable to have their employees in the office,” said Gaspar.

Interstate Office products says that so far many companies have found many temporary fixes to staying safe without having to completely redesign their office.

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