Reimagining the Workplace for a Post-COVID World

Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared on AD Pro’s website as part of a content partnership. 

These days, as we’re all learning to navigate a new normal, laying the grounds for an office where employees feel comfortable starts and ends with safety. It’s about adapting the workplace to solve issues like distancing, wayfinding, acoustics, and sustainability—all while maintaining a sense of style.

And companies such as Interface recognize that flooring is an essential design element when creating the foundation for a safe space.

Through the Interface modular flooring system, flexibility not only comes second nature, but it’s key to designing for a post-COVID world. “Modular flooring allows for updates to be easily made depending on design trends, space reconfigurations, or even drastic renovations; it can be easily changed, rearranged, and added to,” says Mindy O’Gara, Interface Director of Product and Learning Experience. “For the built environment, designing for resiliency is critical; at its core, resiliency means having the ability to adjust quickly and successfully to change.”

Here are just some of the ways Interface is changing the face of flooring for every type of business culture.

Product shown: Composure (Color: Sailing)

Finding the way Forward

At its core, wayfinding is about helping people along their journey within a space. Interface is constantly reimagining innovative ways to get people where they need to go with safety and style in mind. By utilizing design elements, including color, texture, pattern, and format, they are creating subtle physical distancing reminders that feel intentional and appropriate—and that fit in with a company’s style. “In a corridor, for example, this might mean using color to naturally lead people in a specific direction. Patterns can be arranged to signify pathways, waiting spaces, and divisions,” O’Gara says. And in​ open spaces, flooring can work with furniture to help frame zones through lines, banding, color, and pattern.

Focusing on Physical Distancing

“Modular flooring provides a special benefit for spaces in need of physical distancing: built-in mathematics,” O’Gara says. Measuring physical distance is easy with the modular format and design details of the Interface portfolio. The customizable nature of a modular system enables one to create distinction through detail, whether it be bold or subtle and sophisticated. Delineated spaces can be cued by using different colors, patterns, textures, and materials. Thanks to its flexibility, modular flooring is especially beneficial ​for crafting this kind of creative canvas. For example, if a workplace opts to integrate spacing into the flooring, simply removing a single row of tiles and adding a change of color or pattern is all that is required. Likewise, the floor can flex back to its original layout if needed.

Accommodating Different Areas

In many workspaces, there are different zones dedicated to various functions—collaboration, focused work, socializing, learning, etc. “For a focus area, key considerations might be acoustics and comfort, both physically and psychologically,” O’Gara says. “Carpet tile would be the appropriate fit here, as it provides comfort and warmth due to its textile nature and minimizes the impact of noise,” she says. Carpet tile and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) also work well for collaboration spaces. “Both of these materials provide definition and a sense of energy through pattern, color, and acoustics.” LVT is also a good option for gathering spaces. “​Our vinyl floor tiles have a high-slip resistance and a matte finish, making them ideal for commercial and corporate environments,” says Kari Pei, Interface ​VP of Global Design. Like carpet tiles, they can be easily replaced one by one. And the look is anything but utilitarian: think faux wood grain, stone, concrete, and even fabric-like looks.

Products shown: Drawn Lines (Color: Opal) & Circuit Board™ (Color: Teal Circuit)

Letting the Outside In

As we’ve been spending most of our time indoors, bringing the outside into the office has become even more important. “By consciously including nature, we are reconnecting to the environment, providing occupants with the health benefits associated with nature,” O’Gara says. For example, letting light in means it can interact with flooring products to highlight texture and nuances, so they feel like organic materials. “Another nature-inspired example is our i2 carpet tile styles. They mimic the beauty of more natural-looking details with tile-to-tile variations in pattern, color, and texture,” O’Gara says. Including elements inspired by nature can help foster a healthier office culture where employees feel safer, more productive, and inspired.

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