One of the major challenges of companies and organizations returning to work after the Coronovirus (COVID-19) lockdown is creating office layouts that comply with social distancing guidelines or regulations.
There aren’t many ways to do it easily either – other than making employees all wear HAZMAT suits or roll around in those giant plastic bubble football things…
Creating a social distancing seating diagram provides a visual starting point for businesses to tackle back-to-work schemes.
However, it’s not as easy as you might think to make sure that employees are say a radius of 6 feet or 2 meters apart in all directions to create a protective bubble.
However, one thing you definitely can do is create a social distancing office layout using a floor planner software.
Here we look at how to quickly and easily create a social distancing office floor plan using SmartDraw to make the return to office life as safe as possible.
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What Social Distancing Floor Plans Can’t Do
A social distancing map of an office or workplace only tackles only one part of the complex issues of returning to work post COVID-19.
They merely serve at a starting-point to get back to some sort of normality in the office but there are many other things they can’t help with.
At the best, a social distancing office layout map acts as a conversation starter to find the best way forward for your company or enterprise.
Other factors that you need to consider are:
- Movement around the office – that includes people moving back and forth on swivel chairs and encroaching on the social distancing radius you intend to achieve.
- Narrow passages and hallways
- Interaction in shared spaces such as printers, conference rooms, copiers, restrooms, water coolers etc.
- Ventilation and air movement around the office. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a paper on this about how air conditioning may spread COVID-19.
- Mask usage around the workplace
- Hot desking – if you work or host an environment such as a co-working space where multiple people may use the same desks, your office social distancing strategy plans needs to take this into account.
With this in mind, here’s how to create a socially distanced floor plan to make reopening the office easier.
- First you need to download or sign-up for a floor planning software. We’re using SmartDraw because it’s by far the best tool we’ve found for making social distancing floor plans or floor plans of any kind. You can also try it for free so you’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a whirl.
The great thing about SmartDraw is that it has floor plan templates for literally everything including office spaces, warehouses, exhibition halls, trade shows, health facilities etc.
You name it, SmartDraw probably has it. Of course, you can also start from scratch but it’s far quicker to take one of the templates and then customize it for your office.
- Once you’ve re-arranged the layout to be as similar as possible to your own office space, click on “Show Dimensions” and you’ll see the dimensions of each object appear. You can change to metric if needed by going into the “Units” menu.
- Then click on “Measure Area”. You can then drag a safety boundary around the seats, tables and other objects in the office to measure a safe distance such as 6ft or 2m around them.
You can zoom in using the slider in the bottom right-hand corner to see dimensions and objects more clearly.
You can also add annotations to seats such as employee names by clicking on “Add Annotation Layer” and then using the “Text” tool in the toolbar.
- If you want to add extra safety features such as social distancing dividers between cubicles you can also choose them from the SmartPanel.
- If you want to work on a more detailed office seating layout plan, SmartDraw also has templates for seating charts.
This is a very simple way to create a rough outline of a social distancing seating arrangement and office layout plan.
It’s a great first step to reopening your office or workplace and can save both money and time on making mistakes with your work social distance planning further down the line.