In the thick of the lockdown, we spoke with international brains in wellness and sustainability on what the future would hold for workplace environments.
With 2020 taking such an unexpected turn, one thing we knew for sure was that interiors of spaces of all kinds, be it offices, retail, F&B and, of course, healthcare, would have to be readdressed to accommodate the new guidelines for safe and social distancing, sterilisation, and a maximum ‘no touch’ environment.
This got us to thinking, are we looking at Trekkie style offices and dining experiences? Is the future all about virus free, bacteria free, and contact free spaces? So we gathered some of the coolest minds in the fields of wellness and sustainability to help us better understand best practices, what the immediate future looks like, and is this ‘laminated’ culture here to stay?
For this talk, here are our expert panelists:
Above from left: Paul Shariari, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, ecomedes; Jane Abernethy, Chief Sustainability Officer, Humanscale; Ann Marie Aguilar, Senior Vice President EMEA, IWBI
Clip 1: An ‘Antimicrobial’ label may not necessarily protect you
Antimicrobial is today’s buzzword. We are all talking about sterilising our offices to the ends of the Earth, but this is not the answer. Jane tells us that the word ‘antimicrobial’ can be misused and does not necessarily solve the problem at hand, while Paul insists on the age old, Grandma tactic, to wash your hands.
Clip 2: Contactless is better than contact with antimicrobials
Unknown antimicrobials can do more harm than good. So if there is an option, go contactless, rather than introduce antimicrobials and spray chemicals that can continue to affect your health and environment for years to come.
Clip 3: Facilities Management have become the new frontline workers
Again, more harm than good comes from spraying chemicals on surfaces, as we see happening in many spaces. And the ones that take the biggest hit are the facilities management workers in their hazmat suits who deal with these chemicals on a daily basis. Rather than risk their lives and the environment to such exposure, our experts insist on taking the onus on ourselves, and being more rigorous with our personal hygiene, plus creating a naturally healthy work environment with plenty of fresh air.
Clip 4: Let’s have material transparency in absolutely everything
In the last ten years, there has been more of a push towards low carbon emissions and material transparency. If you know what’s in your product, you know what’s making you sick.
Clip 5: Can we afford to build to green standards?
Post pandemic, we have an enlightened audience and workforce that are more conscious of their health and the effect that their environment has on it. Manufacturers and companies will now have to step up and create products and workspaces that cater to a greener, healthier atmosphere.