Partway through the build of our new office in Clerkenwell, the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK and London entered lockdown. Almost overnight, nearly every one of our team members was working from home, and our new office needed to accommodate an entirely new set of health and safety measures and way of working.
Our new Clerkenwell headquarters looks a little different to what we’d originally planned. The COVID-19 pandemic has led us to rethink our relationship with the office and its role within normal business operations. The new office now supports social distancing, one-way navigation and many other health and safety measures – all while remaining an enjoyable and inspiring place to be.
Our COVID response team conducted sentiment surveys across our employees, stakeholders and clients in order to understand how their requirements for our new office were changing over the course of the pandemic.
Our design team completed a series of space rationalisation exercises, using the original space plans for our new office to understand how the health and safety measures would impact the layout of the new space. Throughout the process, we used developing government guidance as our official point of reference, allowing us to open a safe working environment from day one.
The new workspace features finishes and layouts that support regular sanitation processes, and a desk-booking system which allows for the allocation of select workspace on a daily basis, ensuring social distancing measures are upheld. New coronavirus signage indicates one-way traffic patterns and usable space, and hand-washing basins and sanitation stations are strategically placed in higher-traffic areas.
Despite accommodating COVID health and safety measures, the new office still reflects the Oktra brand. We needed a space that demonstrated new ideas, innovative ways of working and the skills of our contractors. Our Clerkenwell office acts as a showroom, celebrating the many aspects of what we do in one space: it’s a space that will continue to change as new government guidance is released, allowing our teams to stay safe while they work to define the post-pandemic workplace.