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General information June 2nd 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has, inevitably, brought about a number of challenges as we start to think about how to return to the workplace safely. Government guidelines have outlined that the main objective is to maintain social distancing wherever possible, while people travel through the workplace and when at their workstations. When this is not possible mitigating actions include using privacy screens, floor standing screens or barriers to increase protection from coughs and sneezes. Introducing screens to the workplace is a quick and effective way to protect your staff and (if applicable) the public from the risk of cross contamination. But what are the safest and most effective ways to arrange the screens to reduce this risk of transmission?

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1. Defining and protecting utilising shorter (return) desk top screens.

The standard bench desking system is popular for several reasons encouraging communication and collaborative working between colleagues. By reducing visual and physical barriers such as side desk top screens (usually 800mm wide) we foster this way of working, making us feel more open and inclusive. This type of working unfortunately may have to be put on hold for the time being as we focus more on social distancing and protective measures. If you work on a bank of desks or bench desk system with limited screens you may wish to consider the Safe Healthcare Desk Screen because it is available at three widths including the standard desk widths of 1400mm and 1600m and the, now, important returning 800mm depth. The Future Protect polycarbonate desk screen extends and over sails beyond the desks depth for a hygienic and cost effective solution for infection control.


2. Defining and protecting using shorter return desk top screens and floor standing screens.

Where possible 2-meter distancing guideline should be followed and maintained but if this is not possible then protective measures should be put in place with the use of barriers or screens. In this instance it has not been possible to distance or separate the workstations side by side or individually. It is therefore imperative that each person should be protected from their left or right to reduce the risk of infection and transmission. The Future Protection Freestanding Glass and Antibacterial screen is available from 1400mm to 1800mm high and a practical 800mm to 1200mm width offering protection from the sides.


3. Defining and protecting using screen extensions or headers.

One of the most effective and perhaps quickest ways to protect workers from the risk of transmission from coughs and sneezes is to use a screen extension or header screen. These extensions or header screens are made from Plexiglass, Perspex or Glass and reduce the risk of potential airborne germs between colleagues whilst still enabling visibility. These extension screens can be fitted on to any existing desk top screen with an adjustable screw locking clamp. The Safe Health care screen extension has proved to be extremely popular as it is easy to install and keep clean.


4. Defining and protecting by using mobile screens (screens on castors)

Mobile screens have always provided flexibility in creating temporary meeting areas or multiple room layouts. These types of screens have often been favored by the educational sector as they are especially useful when creating learning environments. Additionally, mobile screens are double sided and can feature whiteboard panels making them an excellent presentation tool whilst creating temporary partitioning. With one-way systems being enforced in the Covid-19 compliant workplace mobile screens will offer a suitable way to create walkways. These screens will also be used to create safe zones and protect workers who cannot access permanent protection. The express mobile glass screen can be used in a wide variety of commercial environments and is available in clear methacrylate and glass. The Future Protect mobile plexiglass screen is also a lightweight solution.


4. Defining and protecting by using foldable desk top screens

Work bench systems and Wagamama style bench dining units have made us accustomed to sharing our workspaces with friends and colleagues. However, whilst this style of working and relaxing has benefits of creating a relaxed and open company culture, it does not appeal to everyone as personal boundaries are lost. One way of re-establishing these boundaries and defining personal workspace is to use folding desk top screens. These are usually non fixed, portable and easy to set up ideal for visitors or for people without a permanent workstation. The Fold It Desk Booth Screens (*Felt) is a three-sided foldable desk or tabletop screen can be folded away at the end of each day representing the absolute best in design and practicality. The Pli Desk Top Screen (*Fabric) and Buzzi Desk Flip Flop Screen (*Fabric) can also be added to existing work benches or tables without having to reconfigure existing screens. It’ likely we will see an increase in the use of foldable desk top screens being able to define personal and protective space will reassure staff and visitors.


*At time of writing this article some Desk Top Folding Screen materials are limited to 100% recyclable polyester fibers (Felt) and fabric. We are seeing an interest in easy to clean anti-bacterial upholstery and vinyls. If you are considering these types of screens in a anti-bacterial upholstery please get in touch with us.

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