Paving the way for the return to the office @informare_uk @wearebisley @USMfurniture @WovenImage1 @officeblueprint @FUTUREdesigns

While the return to the office on a pre-pandemic scale might be some way off, a number of companies are making serious inroads into making the transition to some kind of workplace normality that bit smoother.

The return to the office has been talked about almost since the mass migration to home working began in the wake of the first lockdown in the UK. Many solutions initially touted involved perspex shields, hazard tape and other highly practical solutions that might not integrate that well aesthetically, with a workplace interior in the long term.

Many of what these companies offer can both offer the reassurance for people returning to work and are much easier on the eye or in some cases, solutions that you cannot see. A product like Woven Image’s Space Dividers can easily delineate spaces within an open plan area of an office to encourage social distancing, as well as provide places where noise reducing acoustics or additional privacy are required.

Bisley, a British manufacturer which has been meeting the needs of workplaces since the 1940s, has also adapted its popular Be product for Covid times. When Be originally launched in 2012, what made it stand out was its cuboid structure and the way it could be reconfigured, plus the electrification of the units. In 2021, this innovative design can create subtle space and territory division, enabling a safe and productive working environment and thus allowing multiple activities, while still adhering to distancing protocols. For this year Bisley also responded with a number of different refinements to the design with USB charging points and new flush-front handles and concealed hinges for a more streamlined look. Bisley has also introduced a new anti-microbial paint called Biocote, which reduces the risk of bacteria transmission. It works actively against microbes with the aim of preventing them appearing by up to 99.99%. Biocote is also fast-acting, providing a level of protection within just 15 minutes of application. Working alongside an organisation’s cleaning regime, Biocote will help to diminish the growth of bacteria keeping furniture hygienic and clear of cross-contamination. Later this year Bisley will also be introducing Quarters which is a flexible family of booths that has secure storage and specialised sound dampening panels allowing for a tranquil and secure space to work in.

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As the thirst for indoor greenery continues to grow, Swiss furniture manufacturer USM has responded with a world of plants iteration of its classic Haller range of storage. Whether you’re a novice indoor gardener or it’s long been your passion, this range of accessories including pot cut-outs, specially developed pots and a watering set that cleverly integrates with the classic USM Haller design. This is just what we need: the power of plants to significantly improve our wellbeing, helping to reduce stress and boost productivity, whether wfh or in the office. This range can also be combined with the USM Haller E advanced lighting solution for targeted or dimmable lighting to create a warm and intimate atmosphere to banish everyday stress.

Then there are those elements of office life that we cannot see, yet will be crucial in the return to work. Welltek, which specialises in supporting wellbeing in the workplace has recently introduced the Bosse ION-Cloud, which provides clean and healthy air. The science bit sees negative ions adhering to positively charged, harmful particles in the air and inactivating viruses, neutralising bacteria and rendering pollen, fungal spores, smoke particles and fine dust harmless. To back up the technology, a study from Professor. Dr. Truyen of Leipzig University concluded that the Bosse Ionizer system is “an effective tool to inactivate, and thus render harmless, relevant viruses and bacteria in the indoor air.” Other benefits for the body include alleviating allergies and arthritis pain, reducing asthma attacks and balancing out blood pressure.

Meanwhile, leading-edge lighting company FUTURE Designs, has harnessed the power of ultraviolet light in a way that isn’t harmful to humans or physical surfaces. Its innovative FUZONE 500 product uses the natural properties of Ozone (O3) to reduce up to 99.99% of unwanted bacteria and airborne viruses, without direct contact with the treated areas. The ultraviolet lamp is cleverly incorporated within the designs and so is obscured from the human eye. This means it can be operated while offices or other premises are occupied and can even be used 24/7 to continually destroy harmful bacteria and viruses. To put the details under the microscope, these sealed ultraviolet lamps operate two different wavelengths to create a combination of Photolysis and Ozonolysis to effectively create ozone (O3), which generates cold incineration of the molecules, ending in a completely safe oxidation process, free of volatile compounds. Clever stuff indeed. FUZONE500 can be integrated with the company’s existing range including the VANE99 & VANE150 range slot light luminaires, as well as the EXEMPLAR recessed modular luminaire, all designed for commercial offices.

From lighting to storage to ventilation, companies that are involved in the workplace sector have all worked hard on products to ease the transition from full time working from home, so that hopefully if you innovate, people will eventually come back to the office.

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