“This is eye-opening for a lot of leaders.”

The rapid disruption to our workplaces and our workflows caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has been revealing, both as employees and as managers and leaders – trust, productivity, autonomy, transparency, resiliency.

In our second episode of BWBR Design Thinking Series: The Future of Workplace, human resources expert Coreyne Woodman-Holoubek, CHRO of Contracted Leadership and founder of Disrupt Milwaukee | Madison, addresses what employees and employers are learning during this historic period when so many have been forced to work from home. From changes that we could see in the physical environment to changes in our expectations for the concept of work, she brings her experience in human relations to discuss how the current disruption could be a positive for our working relationships.

Jesse Turck Receives AIA Young Architect Award

Citing his advocacy and passion for sustainability and design, the American Institute of Architects honored Jesse Turck, AIA, LEED AP, with its 2020 national Young Architect Award announced in February.

A project manager at BWBR, Turck’s demonstrated expertise appears in his work both on projects incorporating energy efficiency and sustainability standards into their designs and on task forces and committees dedicated to pushing such strategies further. That has included co-chairing the Committee on the Environment for the Minnesota chapter of AIA, serving on the Minnesota Resiliency Collaborative, and the Market Leadership Advisory Board for the state chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

In 2018, Turck was selected by Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy to be a delegate to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change-COP24 in Katowice, Poland. Joining three other corporate and small business leaders from Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

“Climate change and architecture are inextricably linked,” Turck said about the need to attend the congress. “Severe weather events threaten all structures, but, even more, buildings directly contribute to the CO2 emissions that are known to contribute to climate change.”

Inside the firm, Turck has advised its sustainability efforts through the work on the Performance Design Group, the firm’s sustainable design committee. With committee members, he encouraged firm leadership to sign the 2030 Challenge in 2007 when it was release and also the AIA 2030 Commitment that challenges architects and engineers to make buildings carbon-neutral by 2030. Most recently, he’s worked with leaders inside BWBR to adopt the AIA Framework for Design Excellence that will guide it’s future project work.

“To say Jesse lives out his passion is an understatement. His genuine interest in environmental sustainability and resiliency is seen through both his work in the firm and his activities outside of the firm,” said Pete Smith, FAIA, president and CEO of BWBR. “As much as he’s established himself as a go-to resource, he is approachable and wanting to help others do better in design and in life. It’s that persona that invites others along the journey of design that can make our profession more open to those interested in design.”

“When people want to know why I work hard to contribute to the profession as a leader in sustainability, I think of the three children my wife and I have. I want them, and other children, to have the opportunity to grow up in a world better than the one we’ve experienced,” he said.

Turck’s national recognition follows his recognition by AIA Minnesota with its own Young Architect Award in 2019. He is the second BWBR staff member to receive the national recognition, following Michael Meehan, AIA, who received the award in 2007.

“People are going to want to come back together.”

What will be the future of the workplace (and post-secondary education) coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders?

In our first episode of BWBR Design Thinking Series: The Future of Workplace, business and thought leaders from Self Esteem Brands, CUNA Mutual Group, and the University of Wisconsin School of Human Ecology connect with Kelly Hensler to discuss both the challenges and opportunities created by the current disruption, from a greater recognition of the social and mental health needs of people, to a closer examination of our true workplace needs, to a better understanding of how we interact on an empathetic and humane level.

Temporary Negative Pressure Conversions for Patient Rooms

As an expected surge continues to have hospitals on notice, converting traditional patient rooms into negative pressure rooms is gaining urgency.

Using guidance released in March from ASHE, we explored a few scenarios which hospital officials and facility managers could consider when converting rooms in order to accommodate the increasing amount of severely ill COVID-19 patients. As there are a small number of hospitals in the United States with airborne infection isolation rooms, we hope this can serve as a helpful tool in providing realistic conversion solutions for healthcare facilities.

In all examples, facility staff should work with a qualified healthcare mechanical engineer as well as local department of health staff to finalize the requirements to convert the patient rooms mechanical system into a negative pressure room.

Same-handed Patient Rooms with No Ante Room

In this scenario, location of the PPE carts and demarcation of the PPE zone within the room are two of the issues that should be addressed. Our recommendation would be to begin the PPE zone in line with the entrance to the patient bathroom, marking the PPE zone with red tape. PPE supplies in a nurse server, mobile cart, door hanger, etc., should be located outside the patient room as should a hand-washing sink and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Room Plan for Same Handed Patient Rooms with No Ante Room

Same-handed Patient Rooms with Internal Ante Rooms

In this scenario, an isolation wall system or portable ante room can create an ante room space within the patient room. The walls would be aligned with the entrance to the patient bathroom. It is recommended to still locate PPE supplies, hand washing sinks, and hand sanitizers outside of the patient rooms.

Room Plan for Same Handed Patient Rooms with Internal Ante Room

Same-handed Patient Rooms with External Ante Rooms

Using an isolation wall system or portable anteroom solution, an ante room could be created in the corridor that maintains a 5-foot minimum corridor width for passage. This scenario also provides an alternative strategy for HEPA air filtration. PPE supply carts and hand washing/sanitizing station are located outside of the ante room.

Room Plan for Same Handed Patient Rooms with External Ante Room

Mirrored Patient Rooms with No Ante Room

Using red tape, mark the PPE zone at the entrance to each room. Continue to use existing location for PPE supplies and handwashing/sanitizing outside of patient rooms.

Room Plan for Mirrored Patient Rooms with No Ante Room

Mirrored Patient Rooms with External Ante Room

Using an isolation wall system or portable anteroom solution, an ante room could be created in the corridor with a HEPA filtration system serving both rooms. Alternatively, a single room could be fitted with an internal or external ante room, leaving the other room with no ante room. PPE supplies would remain available in cabinets. Hand washing/sanitizing station are outside of the ante room.

Room Plan for Mirrored Patient Rooms with External Ante Room

Same-handed Patient Rooms for 4 Patients with No Ante Room

Utilizing ballasted plastic curtains, beds are separated within the room. The HEPA filtration system needs to be set equidistance between the patient. Mark the PPE zone within room using red tape and set PPE supplies outside of the room.

Room Plan for Same Handed Patient Rooms for Four Patients with No Ante Room

In all scenarios, dedicated room pressure monitors are located outside of the patient rooms. All furniture would be removed to reduce cleaning surfaces. Doors to patient rooms would remain closed and patient transport and transfers would be limited.

Gypsum board ceilings are preferable for the hard surface and cleanability. As many existing patient rooms are finished with acoustical ceiling tiles, we recommend replacing the existing ACT pads with new scrubbable and gasketed ACT pads within the existing grid.

Beyond March 2020: A Workplace Reshaped by COVID-19

I am an architect and designer working from home.

I am a university design studio instructor who is teaching hands-on topics through computers.

I am a mom of a child whose daycare closed from COVID-19.

Like everyone, my life has been forever impacted.

As designers, educators, and humans it is in our nature, and our jobs, to leverage what we know about the current situation and use it to inform the future. As millions rapidly move to a remote working strategy, we’re specifically asking: How can COVID-19 and other global crises inform what the workplace will need to support the future?

Connecting virtually while working remotelySitting away from our own firm’s offices, this question becomes more challenging because the present is so radically different than the one we knew three months ago, or even three weeks ago.

In December 2019, during a design thinking workshop, “Defining the Future of Work” at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, cross-discipline students, business leaders, educators, and designers spent four hours trying to define what the future of work meant to them. The students and business leaders, together, created the ideal workplace and then individually ranked their top qualities of what they perceived to be in it, along with what they perceived to be future disruptors.

This was a pre-COVID-19 workshop, where both students and business leaders listed comfort and cultural integrity among top values. As disruptors, they both trended to the categories of lack of community/remote work, social/lifestyle, and technology as being three underlying disruptors.

Today, all these disruptors are affecting workplaces around the globe to the extreme, along with hindering the workplace factors that they value the most. Through remote work, we are leveraging technology to support drastic lifestyle changes but also losing part of that cultural integrity, creativity, comradery, and innovation that comes from that spontaneous cross-collaboration which happens in an office.

If asked these questions again post COVID-19, would the participants’ answers be the same? Would the disruptors become the values, including integrated office technology, flexible work hours, location, style? Will resiliency, health, wellbeing, and safety rise to the top?

Given our current situation, what would you say are your most coveted values of the workplace? What do you see as some future disruptors of the workplace?

BWBR Design Thinking Series: The Future of the Workplace

In the coming weeks, we will join with business and community partners, leaders, educators, and IT and facilities to discuss the workplace, the rapid changes, the challenges, and how it will be forever changed by COVID-19. Topics planned to be covered include:

HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN: The human connection is so vital to our ability to innovate, but also extremely important to our resiliency and mental health.  Human-centered design will be extremely important to physical offices moving forward.  The ability to support someone’s mental health and physical wellbeing has been a topic prior to COVID-19 and will be even more moving forward.  So how can the workplace of the future support one’s resiliency and wellbeing?

CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Companies often ease their team into change management, but in the wake of COVID-19, they are thrust into the deep end facing the disruptors of remote work, technology, and lifestyle change. As Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative. On the Digital Economy, noted, in normal times habits slowly change, and “then you have a shock like this that can change everything,”

If some predictions come true, 25 percent of employees will continue to work from home post pandemic. While studies show they can be more productive, they also lose the creativity, community and innovation that comes from being part of the office culture.  What does this mean for organizations and the workplace itself?

MENTORING IN THE DIGITAL AGE: Mentoring from a distance is difficult; teaching new technical and even soft skills can be a struggle from a distance. Will more introverted people, who are not as outspoken during meetings and creative sessions struggle to get a word in edgewise if it is all based on digital technology? Will those who thrive on a strict schedule to keep them on task struggle if work becomes fully remote? What about the social butterflies? The workplace of the future may change, so how will it support both the teacher and student?

THE PHYSICAL OFFICE AND AGILE SPACES: Some are saying physical offices and co-working is dead. Others say when normal working conditions return, they might be exactly what is needed – a place to come together and bounce ideas off people that you normally wouldn’t interact with on a day-to-day basis. That means that the physical office space may become more collaborative, may have fewer permanent workstations, and may  become more agile, supporting those that are in the office that day.  What are the day in the life stories of the people using the physical office and how might they fluctuate in the years to come?

These video discussions will be recorded and shared through our site and social media channels.

To say we are in uncharted territory is apparent. Coming out of this will be learnings, but it will also require everyone’s inspiration and collaboration to imagine the future of work. There will be a post March 2020, a world reshaped by COVID-19. What we learn from this will help us prepare for the future workplace.