Social Distancing and Navigational Flooring for the Workplace

Social distancing has created the need for navigational flooring solutions in the workplace as Covid-19 restrictions continue into 2021. As a result, many flooring manufacturers are designing flooring collections in a wide variety of materials, which are all creatively aimed at encouraging social distancing, easing workplace traffic flow and reducing employee anxiety.

Nelson Worldwide recently executed a study to “to clarify how we, as individuals, have responded to the sudden change in our work styles and work environments.” Nelson Worldwide is a firm that specializes in delivering architecture, interior design, graphic design, and brand strategy services. It describes itself as offering services which transform all dimensions of the human experience, including environments where they work, serve, play, and thrive.

social distancing and flooring solutions toronto

Image credit: Nelson Worldwide

In its 2020 Return to Work Survey, the company found that “purposeful and visible changes to increase safety measures in the office are top of mind to assure the workforce that re-entry is safe.” Physical safety measures were rated extremely to very important by 83% of survey respondents. Nelson also cited the survey results found that, “there is a strong tension between wanting to return to the office and anxiety over health and safety – with 54% wanting to return to the office, while 51% experience anxiety over health and safety.”

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Image Credit: Nelson Worldwide

Another key insight reported was that 81% of people are craving clear, consistent, and reassuring communication to reduce anxiety around the return to the office environment.

social distancing and commercial flooring Toronto

Image credit: Nelson Worldwide

Social Distancing and Navigational Flooring Solutions

Floor Trends Magazine concurs, “As people return to public spaces, two issues loom large: guiding individuals safely around the interior, and reminding everyone to maintain a safe distance from each other. Wayfinding and zoning are simple ways to help people navigate your space, and flooring has long been a key component of the solution. Adding new visual cues beneath people’s feet helps coordinate their movement, reducing the likelihood of individuals coming into close contact.”

Manufacturers are already providing solutions which will help to mitigate employee anxiety, while providing navigational flooring design cues to coordinate flow of traffic and encourage distancing.

Floor Trends reports that Tarkett’s new suite of solutions aims to help businesses address these challenges. Tarkett’s Imaginations Custom Floor Design program enables architects, designers and facilities personnel to create custom die-cuts for carpet, LVT, rubber or resilient sheet. These can include specific designs, messaging or imagery, which can then be fabricated and shipped directly to the job site.

Designs include arrows or footprint tiles which can be integrated with an existing floor as distancing markers. Circles can also be added in along with iconography and messaging, all encouraging social distancing through navigational flooring.

Another example of a flooring manufacturer that has that has included social distancing in their flooring design is Mohawk Group, which also offers flooring collections to make it easy regulate traffic and create distancing in the workplace through design.

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Photo credit: Mohawk Group

Social Distancing and Navigational Flooring Collections

Mohawk’s  Nutopia 2.0 collection  offers planks that include a ground texture, a transition pattern and an accent color which all work independently or together as a system to create zones. The company explains that as Nutopia 2.0 coordinates for cohesion, it can help ease visual stress, making the reinforcement of social distancing guidelines a subtle reminder while contributing pleasing aesthetics to the space.

Mohawk also offers directional wayfinding solutions for organizations that need to consider how its employees navigate through open or common areas. This type of flooring showcases directional patterns and pathways that can help reduce foot traffic, provide safety in terms of walking through larger areas by reinforcing distancing.

In addition to measured distancing, flooring styles can be configured to represent subtle directional lanes to move people through a space, as Mohawk demonstrates in the picture below.

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Photo credit: Mohawk Group – Large + Local LVT creates directionality

“As many companies attempt to balance the importance of human connection with the need to safely foster that connection, it is vital to consider the impact of the floorscape,” says Mohawk in a recent article. “We believe that designing for distance means thoughtfully incorporating commercial flooring that is versatile enough to carry the workplace through this transitional period and beyond.”

Social Factor is yet another creative solution from Milliken Floor Coverings. Social Factor is described as a program designed to provide instructional, graphic solutions for social zoning in shared spaces that features a collection of icons printed directly on carpet tiles. Milliken’s Social Factor solution defines zones, creates cohesive traffic flow and maintains safe connectivity within workspaces. Below is a series of 50 cm x 50 cm tiles which can be customized by base, icon and accent colour. Click link above for more detail.

Social distancing flooring installation

Photo credit: Milliken Social Factor

As we begin embracing 2021, there are still many uncertainties looming, however these solutions will help ease back to work anxiety, create positive social distancing spaces, regulate foot traffic and define clearly zoned areas to help keep employees safe.

For more information about encouraging social distancing through navigational flooring solutions, please contact us here.