Elgin, Illinois-based Rieke Office Interiors developed and is manufacturing a series of new SafeSpace office furniture products that are both adaptable and affordable for workplace social distancing.
According to company officials, “COVID-19 is reshaping the way business owners and employees think about safety in the workplace. Companies are using innovative methods to keep their employees and clients safe."
Rieke Office Interiors is producing its uniquely-designed shielded office furniture in its state-of-the-art, 150,000 square foot, manufacturing facility in Elgin. The idea for SafeSpace Rx products, specially designed protective shields, panels, and panel extenders, came from the sight of face shields that doctors and nurses wear to protect themselves from all germs, particularly the COVID-19 virus particles. It’s a concern for employees, too, as experts suggest there is a possibility that the virus can be spread through tiny particles, or aerosols, from breathing or speaking, and not just the larger particles generated in a cough or sneeze.
Once the idea had time to take root, ROI’s president, Melissa Kehl, and her team were able to work their way from inception, through technical and design challenges, to a finished product in one week. The key to shifting gears so quickly, Kehl said, was having manufacturing on-site, having their engineers on-site, and using parametric software that provides the best flexibility available.
“The results give employees confidence that they have a safe and effective way of interacting with others. The SafeShield Rx portable protective shield, the SafeTrans Rx portable protective shield with transaction slot, and the SafePanel Rx portable workstation extenders are elegant and sleekly designed to be visually unobtrusive even as they provide security and satisfaction for everyone returning to work,” a company spokesperson explained. “Employees will be reassured by the personal separation and viral protection they offer, while still allowing them to feel connected to their coworkers and customers. Even better, they are designed to allow for movement, so they can be re-configured as needed.”
A spokesperson explained PPE products for the workplace were a natural outcome of ROI’s philosophy and blended perfectly with their ability to shift their laser-like focus quickly and easily. “The trend in recent years has been open office environments, and I don’t think people are going to feel comfortable and safe coming back to that,” Kehl said. “We work closely with our customers to design and manufacture custom office furniture that supports their unique culture. Because of COVID-19, safety is now part of everyone’s culture. We created SafeSpace Rx as a natural product line extension to address this need so employers can bring their employees back safely and with confidence.”