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3 june 2020

A-Z steps to prepare your office for new COVID-19 conditions

There is still much uncertainty about the development of the COVID-19 virus. What is certain, is that it has changed the way we work and interact with each other and will cause a step-change in workplace strategies. A proactive and practical dialogue on the total workplace environment is necessary.

This Insight is a joint initiative of Turner & Townsend Russia and ABD architects. Our aim is to help our Clients to prepare their offices for a safe and healthy return of employees to the workplace in a gradual and thoughtful manner. This Insight is based on Turner & Townsend best practice experience with our corporate Clients in Asia and Europe who are already back at work or returning to work, and bespoke experience of ABD architects in workplace strategies and office design in Russia. 

Preparation for reopening requires development of detailed plans taking into account the following aspects:

Business Requirements

The workplace environment must adhere to guidance provided by the Russia Ministry of Health. They prescribe a gradual return of employees in line with new social distancing measures and health and sanitary requirements, including: 

  • Follow social distancing principles when in the office
  • Regular body temperature checks
  • Regular disinfection of surfaces and ambient air (air recirculators, Bactericidal UV irradiators), regular ventilation
  • Personal hygiene measures
  • Limitation of in-country business travel 

Our Recommendations

  • Consider the different needs of different teams which facilities are required for them to be able to do their job in the right conditions
  • Consider split shifts of 60 percent office / 40 percent remote to enable safe working and resilience in case of another wave of COVID-19.
  • Use of non-touch disinfection accessories in strategic places (pantry/close to phone booths/close to doors)
  • Use of personal wireless mouse/keyboard
  • Clean-desk policy for easy cleaning
  • Usage of disinfection wipes for cleaning the workplace every two hours
  • Consider usage of common areas such as pantry, kitchen and phone booths
  • Implementation of automatic door openers/closers


Workplace Strategy

Based on a holistic review of business requirements, options considering anticipated changes to workplace strategy in a post-COVID-19 world should be developed. This includes mainly new rules on how to use the space to support physical distancing and other safety practices, and enhance continuous communications and wellbeing.   

Our Recommendations:

  • Working space: distance between occupied desks = 2m. Shift everyday work desks. Mark desks that should be not used, ins ert flowers or take away the working chair on a daily basis. 

  • Meeting rooms: reconsider density. Usually a room for 4 will become a room for 1 or 2, a room for 8 will become a room for 4, etc. We advise you take extra chairs out of the room. Consider if doors can be left open – to minimise contact with door handles or consider if doors can be introduced that don’t have handles, are pushed in by a shoulder or elbow. 

  • Walking zone: Provide more space for circulation (e.g. by taking extra chairs and some desks out).  

  • Pantry/kitchens: take out extra chairs to provide 2m distance; provide frequent cleaning, review policy on keeping food in the refrigerator. Use individual or disposable cups, plates, etc as much as possible. 

Conclusion for planning the Return to the Workplace

  • Following recommendations from the Ministry of Health is mandatory
  • Consider smooth return of the employees to the office – the split could be 60 percent office / 40 percent remote
  • Adjusting the office work space (2m distance) in this temporary situation may result in the decrease of working places
  • Adjustment of traffic/walking zones requires extra space for employees circulation
  • Disinfection accessories should be available and placed in strategic places (pantry/close to phone booths/close to doors, etc.)
  • Please note that raising staff awareness of the required behavioural change should be implemented along with the physical changes.

We wish you safe and healthy return to the offices!

Please contact us for the Immediate and coordinated action to help you get your people back in to your workplaces quickly and safely and to balance your long term strategy in parallel:

Alper Tufan

General Director

t: + 7 495 223 86 50


Dennis Kuvshinnikov

Interior Design Department Principal,

ABD architects

t: + 7 495 223 86 50


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