Page 40 - August 5-18, 2020 Construction, Design & Engineering A s the COVID-19 pandem- ic continues to unfold, organizations have been navi- gating the significant challenges of remote working. Businesses already have learnedmuchwith- in a short period of time about work-from-home practices and the implications on their par- ticular organization. Companies can grow from experience by reflecting on what has gone well so far and assessing what could have been implemented more effectively, allowing course cor- rection and application of more refined tactics moving forward – some of which may serve them better under any condition. In this vein, IA recently sur- veyed our global network of clients across all industries and conducted additional research to analyze the most pressing remote-working issues – and to strategize about the safest ways to return to the office, as some already have begun to do. Fol- lowing are the key elements to be considered from a facilities design perspective: n Theperpetuationofremote working. Survey respondents were evenly split between those who discovered they enjoyed working from home and those who have found it too distract- ing and/or miss the social inter- action and workplace culture and anxiously await return to an in-person work setting. Of course, these survey results only reflect the preferences of indi- viduals and not necessar- ily their orga- n i z a t i o n s ; just because s o m e o n e wants to con- tinue work- ing remotely doesn’t mean their compa- ny will allow them to, or that it sup- ports the organization’s mission and business goals. Nonetheless, these findings beg a few questions worth pon- dering. Will there be a surge in policies to allow for more remote workers? How might a more mobile workforce affect space metrics moving forward? What sort of protocols and sup- port need to be put in place for those who would like to con- tinue working remotely, and/or for whom it is both feasible and beneficial for the organization to do so? How can companies help employees become more focused in the face of inherent work-from-home distractions? n Spatial density. To help promote social distancing in the workplace, organizations likely will specify less benching for the foreseeable future. Compa- nies that wish to maintain exist- ing benching will need to make adjustments, for instance by adding screens between individ- ual work areas to better protect staff members. As an example, one IA client has asked us to overlay its current space plan with 6-foot circles so we can re- program the existing office for Day One reentry. n Circulation paths. Rede- signing circulation as one-way routes will allow for intuitive social distancing. For instance, we have has been strategizing with a client to choreograph a loop of foot traffic through its workspace. Here the use of envi- ronmental graphics as a prompt to influence an employee’s intui- tive behavior in the workplace becomes even more critical. n Virtual meeting rooms. Although in-person connection never can be entirely replaced, virtual meetings – from one- on-ones to all-hands gather- ings – will increase over pre- COVID-19 days. This is because social distancing practices likely will continue for some time, and because organizations have real- ized how practical (and time- and money-saving) they can be, not to mention the positive environmental impact with less commuting and air travel. More design attention will be devoted to the background in conference, small huddle and phone rooms, ensuring individuals can be seen without appearing washed out and the architectural setting is appropriate. n Collaboration areas . It will be challenging to strike the right balance between togetherness (for productivity) and separa- tion (for safety) in such areas. Furnishings with high backs or overhead canopies that pro- vide protection could pair with proper distancing so staff can collaborate without sitting side- by-side. Technology integrated into these areas can allow staff to communicate without touching a common digital screen. n Communal dining spaces. Facilities ranging from pantries to full-service cafés and food courts can be designed with the flexibility to pivot to prepack- aged self-serve areas if needed as well as to readdress server circulation. n Antimicrobial finishes and self-cleaning surfaces. Even while we practice more frequent and thorough handwashing, the workplace will need to be designed so we don’t have to rely on good behavior. Products like NanoSeptic continuously self-cleaning surfaces, pow- ered by light, can offer peace of mind by continuously oxidizing organic contaminants. Film can be applied to high-touch pub- lic areas like doors and eleva- tor buttons and finishes can be replaced with hospital-grade antimicrobial alternatives, and touchless capabilities such as light sensors and automatic doors can be integrated. n On-site clinics. Pre-COV- ID-19, some larger companies already had incorporated on- site clinics for convenience. This practice presumably will become more prevalent, as will on-site mental health services, telehealth portals and possibly stations for wellness checks at reception/entry areas. While we anticipate the design of the workplace will be dif- ferent, offering increased con- sideration toward well-being by way of materiality, furniture products and the overall design layout, there also will be the need for change management for new protocols and behaviors to ensure everyone’s health – and to create a safe environment that returning staff will trust. s Social distancing’s impact on design will be felt from Day 1 Kindell Williams, LEED AP Managing principal, IA Interior Architects Furnishings with high backs or overhead canopies that provide protection could pair with proper distancing so staff can collaborate without sitting side-by-side. Technology integrated into these areas can allow staff to communicate without touching a common digital screen. Combined with the previously announced Shea Homes South- west Residential Village, which consists of approximately 1,900 planned for-sale homes, Ridge- Gate will offer a diverse mix of residential housing options. “We believe that by starting development on RidgeGate’s east side with a wide range of rental and ownership residen- tial options, it will respond to the strong demand for residen- tial, enhance the opportunity to attract an anchor employer for the east side and appeal to a wide range of future residents,” said Keith Simon, executive vice president and director of devel- opment for Coventry Develop- ment Corp., themaster developer for RidgeGate. “We are working with some of the best local and national builders to bring to mar- ket a wide range of high-quality residential units that will create a vibrant and diverse environment in the heart of this growing com- munity.” Two different builders are under contract and in the plan- ning and approval stages for these projects. Regency Residen- tial will develop and operate a 540-unit market-rate rental apart- ment complex with numerous amenities and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Koelbel and Co., which recently was awarded low-income hous- ing tax credits from the Colo- rado Housing Finance Authority, plans to build 67 affordable apart- ments on the site – a project that will be the first of several similar projects in RidgeGate that will help achieve its 350 affordable housing units commitment on the east side of Interstate 25. “We are thrilled we have the opportunity be bring to market much-needed affordable hous- ing opportunities to residents in this high-need area of Lone Tree,” said Carl Koelbel, chief operating officer of Koelbel and Co. “RidgeGate is an ideal com- munity for residents to enjoy tremendous parks and open space, employment opportuni- ties and retail amenities at an affordable price.” Regional Transportation Department commenced light- rail operations at the RidgeGate Station in May 2019. The sta- tion includes a 1,300-car park- ing garage for commuters. The goal for this area is to integrate over 700 residential units along with retail and other commer- cial uses such as hotels, office and entertainment/restaurants. This district also fronts along the Lone Tree Regional Park, which is expected to begin con- struction in the coming years. s RidgeGate Continued from Page 36