By: Anna De Simone
SHELTON, Conn. – While many offices in the U.S. continue to operate remotely as the economy begins to revive, the founders of Peralta Design and No Label Design prove there is a method to allowing office workers to return to their desks safely and effectively.
Peralta Design, a digital creative agency located in Shelton, had a soft opening on May 20 in compliance to the Phase 1 guidelines set by Gov. Ned Lamont. Prior to the reopening at 50% capacity with four full-time employees returning to the office on May 26, the eight full-time employees working 100% remotely, according to Peralta Design Founder and Creative Director, Ramon Peralta.
“Each on-site team member has their own dedicated, separate work station to practice safe social distancing,” said Peralta. “I personally went on the CT.gov website and self-certified our business to ensure that we were in full compliance.”
Three 24-inch by 60-inch plexiglass “sneeze-guards” were installed in the office; one was placed at the front reception area along with the two others in between work stations in the bullpen area, according to Peralta. He also mentioned spending about $3,000 on personalized PPE with the Peralta Design logo available for staff, friends, family and clients to enjoy.
“We have increased the quantity of hand sanitizer and disinfectants in the office as well, said Peralta. “In addition, we have implemented a ‘no visitor’ and ‘no in-person’ client meeting-policy in order to minimize contact with any outside visitor that may be a symptomatic.”
Although many other businesses have only recently replaced colleague and client face-to-face interactions with virtual communication platforms such as Zoom, Webex and Microsoft Teams, Peralta said Peralta Design had already been using Google Hangouts instant messaging software to communicate within the office long before the pandemic commenced. For this reason, he said he thinks that made the transition easier for both him and his employees.
Peralta labeled the response from his staff and clients as “positive.” Along with his plan to continue the daily staff meetings to ensure everyone is in constant communication, Peralta said the way that team members have been supporting each other’s efforts during the pandemic and over- communicating and utilizing project management software will continue as well.
For freelance workers such as Rebecca Hopkins, interior designer and founder of No Label Design of Shelton, removing in-person work and meetings was the most significant safety measure she had to implement. Nevertheless, according to Hopkins, Zoom allowed her to shift meetings with clients, vendors and trade professionals “without any hiccups.”
“My message to potential clients is that now is a great time to start the design project you had been considering,” said Hopkins. “From a commercial [or] contract point of view, there are a lot of changes that need to be made to dining and office space use, and hiring a design professional will make the process less stressful, and give you a solution that will be a business driver.”
According to Hopkins, clients of No Label Design have all been happy with how the team has gotten creative in the techniques that they review finishes, offers additional renderings at no charge to help with decision-making and relied on their strong project management skills to communicate ongoing changes.
“From a residential perspective,” Hopkins said, “we have all been spending way more time in our homes, and if you are finding you don’t enjoy your home, or that in working from home, your office space is insufficient, No Label Design can help with that.”
Peralta said he reached out to local vendors such as Blanchette Sporting Goods to order branded PPEs and even created a social media campaign called “#ReopenSafely” to emphasize his strong belief that there is a way to reopen business safely. With no doubt that the virus exists and the threat of it spreading is real, Peralta said he also strongly feels that businesses must take safe measures to return to work.
“Life must go on,” said Peralta. “There is a way to do it safely.”
Peralta mentioned his support of many essential businesses like United Way of NYC and Modern Plastics, stating that him and his staff never felt a slowdown. The decision to work remotely was simply to make it more comfortable and safer for his employees, according to Peralta.
Providing resources and information to the partners and clients of Peralta Design was in effort to be a Beacon of Hope during the onset of the pandemic, according to Peralta. As the U.S. eases back out into reopening the economy, Peralta said he wanted Peralta Design to be the Voice of Reason and an example for others to follow.
“Our employees are our number one priority; if our team feels safe and comfortable, then they will perform their best and they will take care of our clients,” said Peralta. “We are also being extra patient with everyone, both on the team side and client side as we all work our way through these un chartered waters, together.”
The following are some resources to assist you in reopening your businesses safely:
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Shelton, CT 06484
Shelton, CT 06484
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