work and corona
The workspace toolkit for this time

Part 14 of the series: “A Guide to Healthy Work Environments.”

In March of this year, when Bay Area officials became the first in the country to institute a stay-at-home order in response to COVID-19, Studio O+A quickly put together a team of researchers, designers, and communicators to assess the pandemic’s impact on work environments and devise a strategy for moving forward.
The company recently released the first results of that effort, A Toolkit for the Times: O+A’s Guide for Healthy Workplaces. At 170 pages, O+A’s Toolkit is a comprehensive analysis of how work environments must change to meet the challenges of a pre-vaccine economy. It includes guidelines for office design and protocols to make the workplace safer. O+A’s research team spoke to infectious disease doctors, mechanical engineers specializing in clean rooms and health care, architects, psychologists, sociologists, furniture and systems manufacturers, and experts in fields as wide-ranging as air filtration and elevator design.

Sifting through a welter of evolving and often contradictory information, the design team created annotated space plans for every aspect of a multi-space environment. O+A’s Toolkit begins in the parking lot and proceeds through the lobby to offices and space typologies of every stripe. With guidelines for landlords and tenants alike, it addresses technical design issues—placement of workstations, meeting room alterations, kitchen design, etc.—as well as routine behaviors likely to become the new normal.

Will we change our shoes entering the office? Probably. Will we wear our masks full time? Definitely. Typically, O+A has not been content to assemble a purely technical guide. Drawing on its long-held belief that every environment is an experience, the company has shaped its Toolkit to address what the reality of working in these spaces will be. For a post-pandemic workplace to be successful, it will have to not only be safe, but feel safe to the people who occupy it.

O+A’s Toolkit imagines what a first day back might feel like, looks at the psychology of environmental design, and accompanies each space category with real-world suggestions for making it work. Illustrated by O+A’s graphic design team, the Toolkit includes an artful gallery of public health posters – Chin Up (But Keep It Covered) – and witty visualizations of our brave new workplace.

Because the pandemic story is ever-changing, the Toolkit will be an organic document, updated regularly with new research findings and product information. A Volume II assessing the long-term impact of the crisis and what work will be when the pandemic is behind us is presently underway in O+A’s work-from-home studios.

Click here for the Toolkit.

Click here for the Poster Set.

Studio O+A, San Francisco, Dezember, 2020