DSM Forward: Ask the Workplace Experts
The Greater Des Moines Partnership DSM Forward webinar series offers insight on moving the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region forward in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. As plans are made and businesses reopen, The Partnership has put together resources for employers at DSMpartnership.com/DSMForward.
The “Ask the Workplace Experts” webinar welcomed speakers Kim Augsperger, president and owner of Saxton, Inc. and John Kenworthy, president of Storey Kenworthy.
Safety in the Workplace
Kenworthy discusses what Storey Kenworthy is focusing on at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, including the following:
- Cleanability of the office/products
- Work-from-Home shift
- Physical distancing within the office
Augsperger emphasizes making clients and staff feel safe, as well as listening to what their needs are now and as they begin to shift. Because Saxton, Inc. focuses on shaping and improving office space, her employees are now concentrating on the purpose of office space and how it can add value to clients and staff.
Communication is key to conveying a sense of safety. Cleaning protocols continue to change. Once in an office, implementing foreign habits like wearing masks can feel strange. By surveying staff members, Augsperger says it’s easier to tap into what people feel comfortable with when it comes to their workspaces. She foresees companies developing flexible policies, but over time she says the disintegration of the physical space could create issues with businesses trying to foster their culture. People will miss social interaction with coworkers and technological tools such as printing.
Cleaning Office Areas
In order for people to feel safe, surfaces must be cleaned. While the CDC’s recommendations are changing, Augsperger says it’s still important to create a sense of cleanliness throughout the office. Touchless faucets are being implemented at her business and will help minimize how often people touch surfaces. Rules are evolving for communal spaces (kitchen areas, etc.) and will have more restrictions. Kenworthy’s approach includes removing extra seating, but not necessarily restricting so much as offering PPE in these spaces for individuals using them. As a result of the pandemic, Kenworthy says people are already being more conscientious about cleaning.
Long-Term Office Design
Trends across the country had been moving towards open environments with no assigned office spaces, with some working from home and others rotating through the office. Kenworthy sees this continuing. Augsperger says that larger individual spaces could return, and that if people need to come into the office to meet, there will be more of a focus on why. More meaningful spaces may come from this, elevating the office space environment in the long-term.
See the entire webinar below:
Find information related to COVID-19 from our webinar speakers below:
You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.