“In the face of an infectious disease outbreak, how we protect our workers now clearly dictates how safe our communities are, and how resilient our businesses will be” - this was a statement made a few months ago by Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO). He went on to add: “It is only by implementing occupational safety and health measures that we can protect the lives of workers, their families and the larger communities, ensure work continuity and economic survival”.
The topic of “medical safety” is vital to resume this “new normal”, it is a matter of fact; however, adapting to the safety measures promoted by states and regions is far from simple and straightforward.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the strategic choice of many industries was to keep a reasonable number of employees in remote working mode. According to research, articles on this topic and interviews with workers and employees posted on the main media, it has emerged that telecommuting has afforded a great number of benefits both for the family organisation of employees, as well as for its environmental impact. Nevertheless, the office still remains vital because it embodies a “real” place for sharing, which is useful for people to reinforce their teamwork skills. There is therefore a rather generalised trend, of wanting to recover and bounce back, adopting a mixed working method wherever possible, combining the advantages of remote working with those of on-site work, in safe and systematically sanitised workplaces.
The use of porcelain stoneware for raised floors was one of the solutions adopted by Atla Turbine, Chieri. Thanks to the versatility of E.motions, 5 colors, 3 finishes, 5 sizes and 2 thicknesses were used to renovate the spaces, ensuring freedom and design continuity.
Companies are working hard to find a challenging and immediate response, which focuses on the health and safety of workers yet which concurrently also addresses the rethinking of a long-term sustainable company, from a financial, social and environmental perspective.
Putting protocols into action that contemplate hygiene and social distancing are the first tasks which industries addressed, starting last May. Today, these measures have been redesigned and supplemented, taking into account the importance of not hindering social relations and of guaranteeing the highest standards in terms of comfort, balance and harmony in the workplace.
The new nationwide and regional guidelines have come in handy as, despite being stringent, they have proven to be a significant benchmark in order to go back to work safely. In addition to the obligation to use PPE and to maintain social distancing, they emphasise the need for clean air, continuous, in-depth sanitising of all surfaces which are touched or walked on, as well as orientation routes throughout company premises that feature signage on the floor and walls.
For the correct application of these regulations, floor tiles, wall tiles and, more generally, surfaces in the workplace therefore play a fundamental role. To this end, porcelain stoneware surfaces have proven especially effective during this emergency, owing to their compact, hard-wearing nature and vitreous features which generate a very low absorption, repel dirt and shun viruses and bacteria, while being easy to clean and sanitise too!
This type of surface, which is obtained by firing various types of clay at a temperature of 1200 - 1250 °C, provides an excellent base on which to affix all sorts of adhesive signage. It is also easy to sanitise, using non-specific detergents, and it also withstands the most aggressive detergents containing high doses of alcohol - which makes them disinfectants - without damage.
With porcelain stoneware you can dare thanks to the wide range of decorations and customizations that can be achieved even in the most creative working environments. In the photo the color Mint, Alchemy.
In terms of sustainability, it is an all-natural material, which does not release harmful substances and is obtained thanks to increasingly innovative and environmentally-friendly production processes. It doesn’t burn, is recyclable, is easy to install and it stands the test of time.
Impressive confirmation as to the value of porcelain stoneware derives from its extensive use in medical centres and hospital units, where hygiene and health take priority above all else, and where a welcoming and reassuring appearance contributes towards the impact on the patients.
Porcelain stoneware floor and wall tiles and the practicality of the access ways make the Artis Reit headquarters in Canada an outstanding example of a healthy environment, designed to respect the needs of customers and employees alike.
The evolution of ceramic tiles in recent years has also led to breakthroughs and applications in new areas, turning porcelain stoneware into a decorative element and an item of interior décor affording superior technical and styling performance levels. So not just floor and wall tiles, but, thanks above all to the rise in popularity of large slabs, tables, worktops, doors fitted on wardrobes and on kitchen cabinets too. These are places where hygiene is of vital importance – if you think about the workplace, desks, bookcases and office cabinets are all involved – and ceramic tiles prove to be the ideal partner.
And while the technical aspect guarantees superior standards in terms of safety and cleanliness, the extreme versatility of ceramic products is synonymous for impeccable styling 100%. Inspiration drawing from multiple natural elements - such as marble and stone, concrete and metal, wood and fabric even – is now replicated on porcelain stoneware with the utmost authenticity, providing a wide range of creative opportunities combined with outstanding durability. Mention should also be made of the endless ranges of colours and sizes, special pieces and decorations: each setting can be customised according to different aesthetic styles, promoting a natural personalisation of spaces and combining the canons of safety and sustainability required with simplicity.