layout plan view of an operations center with space for social distancing between operators

24/7 Operators Among the Many Returning to Office Spaces

It’s been a disruptive year, to say the least. Business plans for the year went out the window in March when lockdowns started across the country — and around the world. Operations were completely disrupted, with only critical staff still showing up for in-person work.

While we may not be out of the woods yet, some organizations are beginning the slow return to “business as usual,” and mission critical operations are in full swing.

Wall Street’s return 

With precautions in place, New York branches of financial companies are looking to reintroduce a significant portion of their workforce to the office.

JPMorgan asked its trading floor employees to return to their physical location on September 21, aiming ultimately to bring back as much as 50% of their workforce. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon cited “alienation” of the workforce and the potential for long-term social and economic damage if employees couldn’t return to in-person work.

Goldman Sachs also plans to bring back its workforce, with rotational shifts of week-in, week-out employees planned for an October start date.

Credit card Company Mastercard Inc. has also begun encouraging employees to return to their New York offices, with promises of temperature checks, contact tracing, and rearranged workspaces to accommodate social distancing requirements.

Commercial real estate continues to make moves

Even in the tech industry, where many companies plan to remain remote for several months to come, companies are planning ahead for future growth and in-person work. Facebook has recently purchased a  400,000-square foot campus complex in Bellevue, Washington.

Despite recently announcing that its work from home policy will extend until July 2021, Facebook has been buying up real estate in anticipation of workers returning to the office. A statement from Facebook said: “In order to address our rapidly growing workforce, we continue to make investments in physical office locations…While Facebook envisions 50% of its employees will be working remotely within the next 5-10 years, our offices are still vitally important to our culture and will help accommodate anticipated growth and meet the needs of our employees that need or prefer to work from campus.”

While 2020 has brought up fears and debates about the future of in-person work long-term, the trends we’re seeing now indicate that though it may look different, for many companies it is here to stay.

Mission critical operations in full force

As workers begin a larger scale return to the office, operations centers will also plan to return to full staffing, if they haven’t  already. As vital 24/7 spaces, many operations centers remained fully operational throughout COVID-19, with partially remote workforces coordinating “in person” days.

Much like in any other office environment, plans need to be made to accommodate social distancing in critical operations spaces.

operations center consoles with acrylic partitions

The return to work can be aided with the addition of acrylic partitions between operator console workstations.

 

What do socially distanced command centers look like?

When it comes to existing operations center spaces, a number of options can be explored. For example, Constant Technologies offers the ability to retrofit an acrylic partition between users at workstations. If there are already partitions in place, we can also extend these partitions to increase the level of separation.

For new command center environments, social distance can be designed into the space straight from the outset. Constant can design the room to have space in between the operators, which can be filled with storage opportunities in the meantime. This also accommodates a plan for the future, where eventually more operator workstations can be added into the space.

socially distanced plan views for operations centersWhen it comes to the return to in person work, there is no universal playbook. Each company is its own unique case.

For Constant, we also approach each project on a case by case basis. Every organization is different and works in a distinct way — and so does every operations center. That means no two solutions for video walls or console furniture are exactly alike. We’re dedicated to listening to our clients’ needs and providing a personal project management experience to fit their unique requirements.

If you are looking to bring staff back into the physical operations center or plan to create a new one, contact us today.