A recent online poll* held by GHD, one of the world’s leading professional services companies, revealed that 70% of respondents do not feel comfortable returning to work unless social distancing measures are in place. The survey also showed that 60% of participants would like to see more permanent social distancing measures implemented at their workplace following the crisis.

The challenge

These results are an indication of the scale of the challenge facing businesses across the UK. Social distancing goes against the long-held ethos of maximising productivity and will require most businesses to operate inefficiently just when they need to be as efficient and safe as possible in order to recover from the economic impacts of lockdown.

The guidelines released by the UK government are a step forward in helping workplaces to understand some of the changes required to enable safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they are not specific enough to implement by themselves. They do not tell owners/operators how to determine the capacity, or how to ensure social distancing by reconfiguring spaces and designing new procedures that, importantly, account for the way people behave. More details on design and operations principles and standards are urgently needed nationally.

The solution

GHD subsidiary Movement Strategies applies people movement principles and simulations to provide organisations with the practical design and operations advice they need to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace while also maximising capacity, complying with government guidance and demonstrating their commitment to health & safety to staff and stakeholders.

Using this technology and behavioural science backed approach, Movement Strategies has recently proven a doubling of space occupancy in a number of socially-distanced office environments while meeting health & safety and workplace regulations, thereby balancing the need for social distancing compliance and optimal productivity.

Simon Ancliffe, Executive Director and Founder of Movement Strategies, said:

“The well-being of people is critical to economic recovery. There is a real need to build confidence in the creation of safe working environments, while simultaneously optimising the productivity of space. As people are encouraged to get back to work, businesses will need to move quickly to develop detailed plans that will deliver optimal efficiency and safety, while responding to the way people behave and use space.
We have been working with a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, retail, construction and manufacturing, and are seeing the same challenges arise across the board. We strongly advise organisations to remember that “2 metres” is not as straightforward as it seems and social distancing should be considered “dynamically” not “statically”. In addition, human behaviours must be considered when implementing solutions. It is extremely important that social distancing procedures are monitored and measured as they are adopted into daily operations, as this will be vital in helping to create better and safer ways of working in the future.”

*The poll was promoted by GHD on its social media channels between 4 and11 May 2020 and received 304 responses.

For further information contact:

TB Cardew (PR Advisors)

Tom Allison / Alycia MacAskill

M +44 7789 998 020 /+44 7876 222 703                                                                

E ghd@tbcardew.com    

W www.ghd.com

About GHD:

GHD is one of the world’s leading professional services companies operating in the global markets of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, and transportation. Fully employee-owned, GHD delivers engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services to public and private sector clients across five continents and the Pacific region. Committed to creating lasting community benefit, GHD connects the knowledge, skill and experience of its 10,000 people with innovative practices, technical capabilities and robust systems. GHD has over 200 offices around the world, serving a client base of over 14,000.



About Movement Strategies:

Movement Strategies was founded in London in2005 to help clients improve the safety, efficiency and profitability of the built environment and events. Historically, the consultancy has provided integrated design and operations advice for buildings and crowded places, such as the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games and Wimbledon, and analysis of large-scale movement data sets for private and public sector clients.

Drawing on this expertise, Movement Strategies has applied its knowledge of people movement and behaviours to help organisations reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission, while also complying with government guidance and demonstrating their commitment to health and safety to employees and stakeholders.

Movement Strategies works closely with businesses in a range of industries, including healthcare, construction, offices, culture, logistics and manufacturing. It became part of GHD, one of the world’s leading professional services companies, in January 2020.