Suppose you are sitting in your office, placed six plus feet apart from your fellow workers, diligently employed at your assigned tasks when the new office runner comes by and leans over your desk, says hi, then hands you your mail? Feel protected? In public and in work environments we desire to feel safe and protected. But there are gaps in that protection. Marcia of DIG53 commented socially, “In grocery stores, I’ve seen a nice substantial partition between the customers and the checker, but on the other side of the checker (where another customer can walk past) nothing, there is no barrier.” The impulse is to have everyone get their own hermetically sealed yellow bio suits with industrial air filter attached, but that’s a little unwieldy. When do you need more than just a thin stock piece of plastic at face level during an interaction? Do we need solid durable custom sneeze guards, i.e. protective shielding?
There is no way to foresee all possible scenarios encountered in a day. But we can provide for our own safety and the safety of others by taking as many sensible protective measures as possible. If you are separated from another customer indoors by a few feet in a well ventilated building, a face level guard may be sufficient protection. Basic protections work fine in an office where everyone is respectful of social distancing guidelines and using masks.
Unfortunately, not everyone has taken collective safety to heart and some are even adamantly opposed to adhering to scientific guidelines. “Clear custom acrylic structural shields offer better control of individual safety because it is not solely reliant upon the good practices of others.” Marcia advises.
How much protection is enough these days?
Current CDC guidelines state, “Where appropriate, install such barriers in offices to create separation between workers… when in close spaces workers need to worry about behind as well as in front them.”(CDC).
Protective shielding should cover any side exposed to contact from others. This may mean more that a single side. Clear Acrylic is preferred when planning a semi permanent installation because of its unique properties. It’s light weight, formable, provides protection without visual obstruction, and can be buffed and polished if scratched. “Many shields we see are flimsy and not comprehensive in protection.” Marcia relates. “The guards we create can be easily fabricated to turn a corner and surround an individual to any extent required.” DIG53 is creating custom units for commercial offices, places of worship and schools in the Southern California area. “Our units are not necessarily one single piece, they be designed with sides to ensure full protection.” Aesthetically pleasing creations look professional and high end, while providing substantial protections. Using thicker material allows edges to be polished further enhancing the material’s transparent quality, and creating a product which protects without obscuring.
Custom sneeze guards
When considering how best to accommodate the new realities of doing business, we have to minimize the cost to our business’ and maximize the protection of our patrons and employees. Our interactions happen in a three dimensional space. Sometimes a single plane between the interacting parties is adequate. Sometimes the physical realities dictate a more encompassing barrier be designed. Installation will be dependent upon the realities of the physical space. Not all installations are as simple as throwing up two posts and attaching a plexiglass sneeze guard to it. Most offices have unique problems that require thought and creative problem solving. DIG53 will analyze client needs,wants and issues, then apply extensive experience to advise and design. Marcia says her partner, “recently spent an entire day, 7 hours, onsite going through an entire facility, room to room. That’s a service we offer, we go out on site and meet with people and make suggestions based on the needs of their business.” It is important to get the project right from the beginning because of the potential for large capital outlays. The solution must work well to justify the expense.
Longterm solutions versus temporary fixes are considerations in the market space of protective shielding. Investment in durable semi permanent solutions makes more fiscal sense in many settings. Thin material is initially attractive because of its’ price point. Durability is the telling factor however, a thin sheet of material will be liable to crack and also looks inexpensive and makeshift. Envisioning protective shields as semi permanent structures allows DIG53 to “create custom acrylic shields that fit each particular setting.” Longterm durability is assured by the use of superior materials, construction, and expert design. Replacement costs are eliminated. Ability to form the material is another useful characteristic required in select environments. Also, these barriers can be moved when inevitable change makes that necessary. Semi permanent protective shielding like office furniture can be carried forward with the company, and costs can be amortized over a longer period of time, making the CFO’s happy. Conversely temporary barriers will eventurally fall into disrepair and require disposal and replacement. Viruses and colds will always be with us and proper shielding makes sense as a long term viable solution.