Plans for Returning to the Workplace

 In Design, General, Interiors, Workplace

Like many businesses around the country, tvsdesign has worked through a number of phases since transitioning to social distancing in March of this year– from scrambling to get up and running quickly from home, through anxiety to get back to the office and now, fully in the groove of working remotely, we’re preparing for the future.

While we don’t have a date certain, Phase 1 of our reopening will be here soon. We’re working through the immediate changes most important to our office and want to share a weekly update with a few thoughts and examples of what we’re doing to get ready.

We’re focused on the basics:


Taking a page from grocery stores, we’re identifying a one-way path through the office that minimizes face-to-face contact and considers the direction of flow when we can host guests in our offices once again. Dedicated circulation ways create no-use zones along the path that will impact the amount of heads-down workspace in open office configurations.


6 ft of separation has been the social distancing battle cry during this pandemic. We’ve included common conference room configurations and identified new layouts and criteria for safer use. We think the 6 ft guideline research is really about movement and temporary use. We’re searching the research on the impact of conditioned air and longer-term adjacency and if that research leads us to different layouts, we’ll share what we’ve learned with the sources.


We’re including our layout of hands-free sanitizer locations – we’ve identified a great looking, rechargeable device from simplehuman. We are adding other hands-free devices, some with longer lead times, including hands-free faucets and door handles. Our building already has hands-free soap and towel dispensers and automatic toilets but if yours doesn’t, you might consider adding them.

We’ve also been working with clients on projects that started before the pandemic and are now pivoting through their quarantine experiences to different solutions. We are in the process of evaluating our own future office plans, as well as new space for our Tampa office and see an amazing opportunity to rethink the role of place in our work.

Next week we’ll share a few more examples and some of the lessons learned in quarantine that we’ll carry forward into the future. We’ve launched a new survey in our office and hope to be able to share the learnings from our team of designers, marketers, accountants and researchers at tvsdesign.

Stay tuned for more updates to come. In the meantime, we’re here to help – if you have questions about your own workplace, reach out to Katie Dasgupta, associate principal of tvsdesign’s Workplace Studio.

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  • Joseph Adams

    Thank You for posting this article. It is always nice to see how other firms are approaching this issue. I am also very glad to see that you have acknowledged that HVAC has a role to play in this. ASHRAE has some good guides on that, and I look forward to following your updates. I would like to offer one comment that we have struggled with ourselves, and that is that 6′ circles based on where a chair is shown on the plan doesn’t really paint an accurate picture of where that chair may travel (within a cubicle for example) nor the direction the occupant of the chair is facing, nor the fact that few of us maintain perfect upright posture throughout the day. I have been looking at cubicle layouts where the rectangle of floor area within the cubicle as the limits of movement and offsetting all four sides 6′ (with 6′ radius corners) to show a more true 6′ projection to highlight the potential overlap, not only of aisles and passageways, but also neighboring cubicles. The Conference Rooms offer similar challenges, I know that I rarely sit 1′ or more away from the table edge. Usually my head is pretty close to directly over the edge of the table to allow me to rest my elbows on the table, take notes in my notebook, or type away at my laptop, etc., so I have been placing the circles (assuming these chairs won’t move around as much as a chair in a cubicle), on the edge of the table aligned with the center of the chair. Thank You again for sharing!

  • Alan Robbins ICFN-ATLANTA

    Positive approach

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