Allsteel embraces Poka-yoke to encourage workplace social distancing

To help employees intuitively partake in social distancing as companies begin to prepare workers to return to the workplace, Allsteel has embraced Poka-yoke as a guiding product-design philosophy to help adapt to these evolved workspaces.

Photo courtesy of Allsteel

Created in the 1960s by Japanese engineer, Shigeo Shingo, Poka-yoke is a Japanese mistake-proofing approach to preventing and eliminating errors by making use of simple but effective tools and signals.

In an effort to assist designers and companies plan for the return to the workplace, Allsteel has developed suggested guidelines and protocols, as well as products and accessories, to encourage social distancing while creating physical barriers that do not detract from overall workplace design.

“The addition of space-defining elements can help create individual zones in a workspace,” says Lauren Gant, PhD, Manager of Applied Ergonomics & Human Factors for Allsteel and HNI. “Proximity and collaboration are still key to productivity and in order to achieve physically and psychologically-safe work environments, Allsteel is embracing the Poka-yoke method to establish three key dimensions to consider in the evolving workplace: user experience, spatial effectiveness, and distributed work.”

Photo courtesy of Allsteel

According to Allsteel, user experience considers how employees feel returning to the workplace and how they adapt to new health and safety policies; spatial effectiveness studies how employees use and manage physical workspace, and how to keep them protected and effective through mistake-proofing concepts; and, distributed work investigates how organizations can balance various modes of workspaces with the nature of work while supporting workers wherever they are.

Utilizing Poka-yoke , Allsteel is invested in assisting clients and customers to consider how furniture shape, design, layering, and orientation can function as intuitive boundaries, in addition to visual cues that define traffic flow and encourage distancing.