Choosing Screens That Aren’t Part Of The Furniture

July 2020

A lot has changed in the office since most of us set foot through the door.

Steps are being taken and adjustments put in place to ensure safe distancing is observed, while maintaining comfort and providing an added element of reassurance for all those who have returned or are returning to the environment any time soon.

Screens are likely to have a part to play in the new style office – if only for the short-term.

A recent survey carried out by workplace consultant and psychology expert, WKSpace reported that approximately one in five workers  feel safer returning to the work environment with desk dividers or sneeze screens fitted.

Striking a balance

There is still no certainty about what happens next in relation to Covid-19.

There’s been talk of a second wave, with some experts adamant that this is inevitable; however, there is also a keenness to return to normal. This was made evident by the influx of people filling the beaches at the first hint of sun; queueing outside shops like Primark and descending upon town and city streets as soon as pubs and bars reopened.

It would seem that temporary solutions are needed in our offices, in order to strike a balance and manage the uncertainty, while offering a degree of flexibility ie. Dividers and screens that are easy to move around.

Applied futurist and author of Future-Proof your Business, Tom Cheesewright shares this belief. He comments: “Everyone is adjusting to a new environment of increased caution and continuing uncertainty. Until we have clarity about the long-term impacts of the pandemic, we need rapid and adaptable solutions to the challenges it presents, whether that’s for customers, partners, remote workers, or in the office.”

A flexible solution

We’ve been talking to our customers about sneeze screens and how much to invest in these products, given the constant changes in advice and the altered requirements for the office – it’s likely that people will be more inclined to come in for meetings rather than concentrated, independent working that can be done from home.

The common thinking is that these screens are a necessary solution in the short-term and good to have at hand to allow for individual reassurance. With that in mind, we’re advocating the use of wipeable, cardboard desk shields, which are easy to move about and significantly cheaper.

Not as big a commitment as the Perspex and glass alternatives, these screens are less likely to become part of the furniture and, as an added bonus, they are 100 per cent recyclable.

One more thing

Futurist Tom Cheesewright remarks on the type of solutions we could be expected to engage moving forward: “The most important interventions might be simple, leveraging great design and simple materials to provide protection, reassurance, and even behavioural nudges through changes to the workplace.”

Screens don’t have to be permanent fixtures. They can remain in place until new habits are made and we simply don’t need them any more.