Excerpt of a contributed article published in ISHN magazine on December 4, 2020.

When state and local governments across the country began issuing stay-at-home advisories in response to the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, many private employers directed their personnel to begin working from home to the extent possible in an effort to assist with slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, for many it was simply not possible to continue with business as usual in a remote work environment. Remote work is often not an option for those with hands-on and in-person work to do, such as retailers, healthcare professionals and many of those employed in the construction, manufacturing and energy industries.

Employers and employees in these and other similarly-situated industries rapidly adapted, using a number of strategies such as mask wearing, increased hand washing and facility cleaning, shift staggering and other PPE-centric and social-distancing techniques.

However, as we approach the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is becoming increasingly clear that many of the strategies being adopted in all sectors of the economy and public life for dealing with the pandemic are here to stay. The realization that the length of the pandemic will be measured in months, or even years, rather than weeks, has prompted many to consider how these adaptations can be implemented in a more permanent way as a part of the “new normal,” including in strategies fundamental to business operations such as the design, construction and operations planning of commercial facilities. Read the full article.