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Sustainable Return to the Office

In the wake of COVID-19, the workplace and what it will look like has been the topic not only of countless industry webinars but also in the wider press with the BBC featuring an article on what the post COVID workplace might look like.

At first it seemed like the panic response of manufacturers and indeed furniture dealers was to cover my LinkedIn feed with offers of plastic and Perspex screens. The topic of this new sub sector of products became part of the webinar I recently attended: The question being – Is the short term need versus the long time environmental impact of plastic worth it and should wearing masks and hand washing be enough to minimize continued infection in the workplace?

With view of the Himalayas not seen from some Indian cities for over 20 years due to pollution, sustainability has never been more on the agenda.

The National Geographic article “Is a world without trash possible?” highlights that every year we transform more than 100 billion tons of raw material into products. Less than a quarter becomes buildings, cars, or other long-lasting things. Less than 10 percent cycles back into the economy. The circular economy movement aims to increase that number and reduce the enormous amount of waste.

Fortunately some manufacturers in our industry have come up with alternative solutions to appeal to end clients who still want to the have reassurance of screening but want a solution that does not compromise their environmental message.

FROVI: – Fabric Alternative

Frovi have been doing some great new product innovation over the last couple of years and their new Picket screens are no exception. Designed with a unique Safe Felt design with anti-microbial properties, they are fully customisable and best of all Safe Felt is made from recycled PET. Picket screen are available from stock and in 6 felt colour finishes.

CLARUS: – Glass Alternative

Clarus known for their writable glass developed their new Be! Clear product in record time in response to the COVID-19 breakout. The new product offers a protective shield with a cut out to facilitate taking temperatures from a safe distance. The design allows for the shield to be wiped clean of all germs, thanks to the non-porous nature of glass.

Agilita & Office Principles : – Cardboard Alternatives

No not a homemade option that one of my connections proudly posted on their LinkedIn!

Agilita has brought out the Miljo product  as they wanted to come up with a solution that offered good protection to this current virus but could be sustainably sourced and recycled. Whilst apart from having a great name, is 100% recyclable and manufactured using 80% recycled raw materials, with a white cardboard frame with clear film vision panel and is available in 2-3 weeks

Office Principles have a similar cardboard alternative they have called the “Sneeze Screen” which is 100% recyclable with a see-through window made from clear film and a cable feed for tidiness and safety. They are available in the one size also with in stock delivery.

Sally Rice is the Founder and Managing Director of S Rice Consultancy who offer companies in the commercial interiors industry advice on the Operational areas of business with the aim of helping them gain more time and cost efficiencies, maintain sustainable growth and ultimately improve their bottom line. For more information see their website at