Every office move requires some adjustment, but coming into a new building during a global pandemic adds some challenges. The Georgia office of the global construction and development firm, Skanska, houses nearly 100 of the finest construction professionals in the Southeast. After a careful search, Skanska opted to relocate leasing 15,000 square feet on the 25th floor of the Marquis One building at 245 Peachtree Center Avenue in the heart of downtown Atlanta, a few blocks from Centennial Olympic Park. We were impressed with a recent renovation of the building to revamp the lobbies, add a new fitness center, revitalize the outdoor spaces, and incorporate a new conference center complete with a training room, board room, and breakout niches.
With our involvement in many office building projects, Skanska is uniquely experienced in using design to contribute to positive office culture. We chose to feature an open workspace environment with many common areas for gathering, several large training rooms and idea rooms for collaboration, and privacy rooms for more focused work, calls, or video conferences.
The numerous meeting rooms and offices have glass walls to allow natural light into the center of the plan while creating an overall, more transparent, collaborative environment. Other materials used in the construction included light oak wood floors, veneer brick on exterior walls, and lots of black accents. The office’s interior design was created by PDR and the construction build out was executed by Skanska.
Skanska employees in Atlanta now work in a building outfitted with the finest amenities for clients and employees, well located in the heart of the city with easy access to public transportation and highways. They also work in a space that conforms to the new office norms as defined by the response to COVID-19.
We were scheduled to make the move into our new space this spring, but the current shutdown necessitated some careful planning to ensure the comfort and safety of everyone in the office. Some of the key features of the re-mobilization plan include:
• A phased re-entry of employees and continued use of virtual meeting tools as appropriate
• Careful discussion with the landlord to establish buildingwide procedures to ensure best practices are employed
• Establishing procedures for safe entry and egress into Skanska’s office space
• Keeping visitors and employees informed of protocols through timely communications and signage
• A strict policy to ensure nobody comes to work when they’re feeling ill
• Requiring face coverings in common spaces
• 6-foot social distancing where practical, assisted by occupancy limits for common areas and meeting spaces • Minimizing common touchpoints and shared work surfaces
• Implementing rigorous cleaning routines and providing appropriate cleaning supplies near common touchpoints
• Configuring workspaces so individual seating positions are at least 6 feet away from neighboring colleague positions
• Identifying traffic paths that maintain social distancing
• Relocating workstations adjacent to high-traffic areas
• Limiting non-essential items in workspaces
• Promoting the use of disposable dishes and utensils and encouraging employees to eat in their individual workspaces instead of in common areas
• Restricting access to areas where protocols cannot be implemented
• Limiting deliveries and third-party vendors and discontinuing buffet-style meals
Skanska has a core commitment to safety in the workplace with a long history of innovation and implementation to protect workers and clients. Though the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis are new, plans to mitigate its effects draw on principles Skanska has pioneered over decades for creating a safe and sustainable workplace. As the phased return to the office gets underway, Skanska employees are making their new space their own and enjoying the thoughtful design and flexibility of the space.