Experts describe post-pandemic office life and layout during DMC webinar

Destination Medical Center in Rochester is helping prepare employers and employees as they return to work during a five-part webinar.

Posted: Apr 27, 2020 4:22 PM
Updated: Apr 27, 2020 5:38 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - For the first time in more than a month, up to 100,000 Minnesotans are returning to work after Gov. Tim Walz signed an order loosening restrictions. The move comes with a handful of guidelines.

Destination Medical Center in Rochester is using those guidelines, in part, to prepared employers and employees as they return to work.

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During the first webinar on Monday, RSP Architects interior designer Melany Bjorkman described how office layouts may be changing.

For example, Bjorkman said desk dividers may need to be raised to separate employees but can be made out of glass or plexiglass to maintain a connection.

Other changes employers might consider include staggering desks to keep physical distancing in place.

However, to make sure offices don't return to uninspiring "cubicle culture" Bjorkman says there are opportunities for innovation.

She explained, "You can consider the type of finishes you bring in, the type of green space you might want to bring in as well. There's definitely a lot of options so I think it depends partially on what your staff is looking for, what your business type if like and the amount of space you have as well."

Bjorkman said popular spaces like break-rooms may also see a limit on the number of employees can gather there.

However, office space layout isn't the only potential change.

Managing director at Colliers International Jeremy Jacobs says updated technology may be integrated to lessen community touch and monitor employee health.

That can include taking an employee's temperature when they enter the building or even "smart audio" that can detect a cough or a sneeze.

Jacobs explained, "It's sort of the 'Big Brother' notion but we're learning in an environment where that type of software might insure we're that much safer. Knowing that the company cares that much to keep the environment safe, clean, free of germs etc."

During the webinar employers also heard there could be a return of the elevator operator. Jacobs says that would be to keep employees from touching community surfaces especially in high-rises.

Monday was the first of five webinars called 'Road to Recovery - Navigating the Path to Economic Recovery.'

On Tuesday DMC's series will focus on changes that may be in the works for public and private transportation.

To take a look at Minnesota's newly released "Safely Returning to Work" guidelines you can click here.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 37210

Reported Deaths: 1495
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Washington104840
Mower9322
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Clearwater70
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Lake60
Hubbard50
Traverse50
Lac qui Parle40
Stevens40
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Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 30173

Reported Deaths: 718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6275178
Woodbury320144
Black Hawk218058
Buena Vista170511
Linn123882
Johnson12318
Dallas122329
Marshall103519
Story7463
Pottawattamie71911
Scott70410
Wapello70230
Crawford6752
Muscatine62444
Dubuque60922
Sioux4610
Tama45829
Wright3771
Louisa36013
Jasper32117
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Dickinson2592
Warren2581
Washington2349
Hamilton1871
Webster1702
Boone1421
Cerro Gordo1381
Clarke1272
Clay1270
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Mahaska11517
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Pocahontas931
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Taylor790
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