Lallis and Higgins Blog

Do College Students Need Renter's insurance?

Darren Kincaid - Monday, August 10, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Renters Insurance

When you're packing for college, you may be thinking more about clothes, gaming consoles or the perfect laptop than insurance. Whether you're heading to a campus dorm, renting a house or leasing an off-campus apartment, it's important to protect your possessions.

Don't make the mistake of thinking you're too poor to need coverage. Many students have personal items – such as electronics, furniture, sporting equipment and clothes – worth thousands of dollars. Plus, college parties are prime opportunities for trouble, including injuries to a guest or property damage to your place.

What renters insurance covers.

A common misconception about renting is that the property owner is obligated to reimburse you in the event of a catastrophe, such as a theft, fire or storm. As empathetic as your landlord may be, his or her insurance never covers you.

In other words, it's your problem if something valuable is stolen from your rental, or you return to discover your possessions destroyed by a fire. It's not a pretty picture – or an affordable one – especially for a college student.

Fortunately, renters insurance is a bargain for the protections you get in a basic policy:

  • Personal property. Protects the value of your belongings from a covered event anywhere in the world, such as damage from a natural disaster, loss or theft. Common exceptions include flooding and earthquakes.
  • Liability. Protects you against a claim or lawsuit if you accidentally hurt someone, or a visitor is injured in your rental.
  • Additional living expenses. Pays for temporary housing and meals if you can't live in your rental while covered damages are repaired.

How to know whether you need renters insurance at college.

Whether college students really need renters insurance depends on where they live and the protections extended to them under a parent's policy. If you attend college while living at home, you're generally covered by your parents' homeowners or renters insurance.

If you live in on-campus housing, such as a dorm or a school-owned property, your parents' home or renters insurance typically extends to you if you're listed as a dependent on their policy. However, both types of policies cap off-premises coverage.

However, if you're a student in an off-campus apartment or house, your parent's homeowners or renters insurance wouldn't cover the loss. You would need to have a policy in your name to cover losses or liability claims.

If a student lives off-campus with one or more roommates, they may be able to purchase renters insurance together. While sharing a policy can save money, there are downsides. One is that your roommate's claims go on your claims history record as well, which may cause you to pay more at renewal. Problems can also arise when a roommate moves out or doesn't pay her share of the premium.

How to shop for renters insurance.

You might be surprised that the average renters policy costs just $188 per year. That's a cheap financial safety net that no renter should go without.

Be sure you understand whether a policy offers cash value or replacement value for claims. The former reimburses you for the value of personal belongings at the time of a claim (the original value minus depreciation) and the latter gives you the full value.

Premiums for replacement coverage are higher than for cash value, but they may be worth it if you have a substantial claim.

To find the best policy talk to your current insurance provider. If you already have an auto, home or renters policy, find out whether your student can be covered and at what cost. An independent insurance agency will shop around for you and get quotes from several insurers. They'll also be sure to shop apples-to-apples by evaluating prices for policies that have the same benefits and coverage limits.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

USNews.com/money


Massachusetts RMV Introduces Registration Drop-Off Centers Renaming B2B Centers and Broadening Services Braintree PIlot Starts Monday, August 3

Darren Kincaid - Friday, July 31, 2020
Lallis and Higgins Insurance

Due to the current state of emergency resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) continues exploring ways to reduce in-person customer visits in Service Centers throughout the Commonwealth.

The RMV is expanding drop-off services to include individuals, and renaming the B2B Centers to Registration Drop-Off Centers.This change is in recognition of the increased demand for trailer, motorcycle, and camper plates, and allows the RMV to more broadly serve all Massachusetts constituents in a timely manner.

On Monday, August 3, the RMV is piloting the new Registration Drop-Off Center service channel alternative in Braintree. This will be followed with the opening of an additional six Registration Drop-Off Centers throughout Massachusetts on August 10.

How Does An RMV Drop-Off Center Work?

The drop-off service centers are dedicated exclusively to registration and title transactions for both individual and commercial customers. Customers can drop off their completed Registration and Title Application (RTA), applicable supporting documents, and completed drop-off center form. Transactions will be processed and completed on a first-come, first-served basis, and all drop-off transactions will be completed within four business days. Payment must be done online, and customers will receive email with payment amount and instructions once paperwork is processed.

Drop-Off Process Details

  • Customers can visit any Registration Drop-Off Center during during business days between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., without making an appointment, to drop-off their transaction paperwork.
  • Prior to visiting one of the drop-off centers, customers must compile and complete all appropriate paperwork and any supporting documents, and fill out drop-off center form. (Note: form can be pre-filled online.) Customers must have a completed/stamped RTA from insurance company/agent. Customers must drop-off the required paperwork within 30 days of insurance becoming active. Drop-offs with an incomplete or inaccurate RTA will not be processed.
  • An RMV door advocate will review the customer’s paperwork to ensure it’s correctly completed. Customers will not be allowed to wait, but will be contacted by email within four days after drop off with payment amount and instructions. Payment must be done online via the RMV's email-initiated payment process.
  • Once payment is successfully processed, paperwork will be ready to be picked up at drop-off center within one hour.

What Transactions are Eligible for Processing at Drop-Off Centers?

The following transactions, for both individual and commercial customers, can be dropped off:

  • Register and title a vehicle
  • Transfer plate to a new vehicle
  • Reinstate a registration
  • Apply for a registration only
  • Transfer a plate between two vehicles
  • Register previously titled vehicle
  • Transfer vehicle to surviving spouse
  • Registration Amendments
  • Plate Cancellations
  • Individual registration renewals must be done either online, by mail, or via automated telephone, and are not eligible for drop-off service.

Where are the New Drop-Off Centers?

Dedicated drop-off centers are at the following locations. Note that the Braintree pilot starts this coming Monday, August 3; all other locations will open on Monday, August 10.

  • Braintree
  • Chicopee
  • Haymarket (Boston)
  • Haverhill
  • Milford
  • Taunton*
  • Wilmington

* On Monday, August 10, the Taunton Registration Drop-Off Center will replace the current Attleboro B2B Center. Commercial customers can continue to drop off transactions in Attleboro until Friday, August 7.

Can Customers Wait in Service Center?

No. Customers dropping-off or picking-up their paperwork will be served in the order of arrival and should anticipate a wait time for the intake and pick-up process, but will not be allowed to wait for their transaction to be completed.

Drop-off transactions for both individual and commercial customers will be completed within four days of receipt, and customers will be notified upon completion of the payment amount and pick-up time.

Do I Have to Use Drop-Off Center for Registration Transactions?

No. Customers are able to make reservations for in-person RMV Service Center visits for certain registration and title transactions through the Online Service Center.


How Much Should I Tip the Movers?

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance

A common conundrum in the US service industry is gratuities – how much should we tip those who assist us? When you dine out or get a haircut, it is customary to tip, but what should you offer those who move your home?

Should I Tip My Movers? And, How Much?

Since the average American doesn’t move very often (average is five to seven years), it’s easy to forget to leave a gratuity with your movers. It’s easier to remember and know how much to tip services we use more frequently – like dining out and personal grooming. So what to do?

Of course, every moving company will say to customers who ask that "gratuities are never required but are always appreciated." Some customers who might not have the means to give cash tips often provide the movers with water, sports drinks, snacks or lunch as a small gesture of thanks.

For those looking to leave a tip with their movers, the industry recommendation is:

  • between $3 and $7 per mover, per hour on the job, with a $5 tip per hour being the average.
  • you can also tip 5-10% of your total bill, which often works out the same as the $5/hour principle.
  • You may feel compelled to adjust these amounts depending on how many flights of stairs are in your home, the weather conditions on your moving day, completing the move at an exceptional speed or the volume of items you must move.

At the end of the day, the discretion is completely up to the customer.

Source: gentlegiant.com


Do College Students Need Renters Insurance?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 20, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Renters Insurance

What is renters insurance and is it a worthwhile expense for college students?

What Is Renters Insurance

If you live in a rented apartment, condo, or house, your landlord’s insurance never covers your personal belongings. That means if something valuable is stolen or a fire destroys everything you own, it’s your responsibility, not your landlord’s.

Since the cost to replace your personal property could be much more than you can afford, having a renters policy is a smart way to protect your finances.

A renters insurance policy typically gives you 3 types of coverage:

  1. Personal Property protects the value of your belongings from a covered event, such as damage from a natural disaster, theft, or vandalism.
  2. Liability protects you against a claim or lawsuit if a visitor gets injured on the property.
  3. Additional Living Expenses pays for temporary housing and meals if you can’t live in your rental while damage for a covered event is repaired.

Do College Students Need Renters Insurance?

Whether college students need the protections of renters insurance depends on where they live. A student who lives at home or in on-campus housing is covered under his or her parent’s renters or homeowners insurance.

Both renters and home policies usually have a cap on the amount of off-premises coverage. For instance, claims that a student makes on-campus could be limited to 10% of the parent’s coverage limit. In other words, if parents have $100,000 of coverage on their home, the student would be covered up to $10,000, after paying the deductible.

However, college students renting an off-campus apartment, condo, or house should have their own renters insurance policy. They aren’t eligible to get coverage from mom and dad’s renters or homeowners policy.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that students are too poor to have belongings to protect. Most students living off-campus have thousands of dollars worth of personal items, such as electronics, computers, furniture, bicycles, clothing, and textbooks that make buying renters insurance worthwhile.

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?

You might be surprised to learn that the average cost of a renters policy is only $184 per year. That’s a really inexpensive financial safety net that no renter should be without.

If a student is renting off-campus with one or more roommates, they may be able to purchase a policy together and split the cost. However, if you’re unsure about how long your living arrangement will last, it is recommended that you go ahead and buy your own policy.

Having renters insurance means that you’ll be in good shape if a roommate leaves the toaster oven on and causes a fire or there's a bad roof leak. You’ll have reimbursed living expenses to help pay for temporary housing and food if you have to move out due to an unexpected event. You won’t have to live without your favorite electronics or clothes for very long and can stay focused on your schoolwork.

More questions on renters insurance? Lallis & Higgins Insurance has answers!

quickanddirtytips.com


RV Insurance: Answers to Some Common Questions

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 13, 2020
Lallis and Higgins Insurance, Weymouth, MA

Campgrounds across New England are finally open! Maybe you didn't think you were going to use your RV this summer. Now you can, and it is time to get RV insurance.

It doesn’t matter if you use your RV recreationally or as a full-time residence—the best RV insurance protects your unique needs. Lallis & Higgins Insurance will help you build a custom policy that protects you and your motorhome in almost any situation.

Whether you’re driving your RV or towing it, we’ll insure it

From state-of-the art class A motorhomes to pop-up campers, we take pride in insuring all types of RVs—including travel and utility trailers. Check out the common types of RVs we insure:

  • Class A motorhomes - The largest type of motorhome ranging from 21-40 feet in length.
  • Class B motorhomes - The smallest type of motorhome, comonly known as camper vans.
  • Class C motorhomes - Mid-sized RVs ranging from 20-33 feet in length, also known as mini-motorhomes.
  • Cargo & horse trailers - Large, enclosed trailers used for transporting horses, vehicles and more.

Common questions about RV insurance

How much does RV insurance cost?

Annual policies remain affordable, but your price for motorhome and travel trailer insurance depends on many factors, most notably:

  • Type, age, and condition: RV insurance is primarily based on the make and model of your vehicle. An older, smaller travel trailer will likely cost less to insure than a new, luxurious motorhome. Just like your rate will be costlier for a state-of-the-art conventional travel trailer compared to a pop-up camper.
  • Use: How often you use your RV will impact your cost to insure it. If your RV is your primary residence, your coverages and premium will differ from someone using their motorhome or travel trailer for only a few weekends per year. Learn more about full-time RV insurance.
  • Driving history: A clean driving record can help when it comes to RV insurance, too. Tickets on your motor vehicle report or prior accidents could affect your premium.

Do you have to have insurance on a travel trailer?

If you’re financing your travel trailer, your lender may require comprehensive and collision coverage to insure the vehicle against physical damage. Since you don’t drive your travel trailer, no states require you to insure a vehicle that you pull with a car or truck.

Does Roof Protection coverage apply to the interior of your RV?

Yes. The coverage includes protection against damage to any part of the vehicle caused directly by a roof malfunction.

Do you insure destination trailers and horse trailers?

Yes to both. We cover destination trailers like standard travel trailers. Horse trailers can be covered up to $50,000.

More questions about RV insurance? Lallis & Higgins Insurance has answers!

Progressive.com


Classic Car Insurance: Frequently Asked Questions About Qualifying

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 07, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Classic Car Insurance

Generally, to get insurance for classic, collector, vintage, and antique cars or trucks, your vehicle needs to be parked in a garage, used as an extra car and not your daily vehicle, and kept in good working condition. If your car doesn’t qualify for classic auto insurance, a standard auto insurance policy may be a better option for you.

How old does my car have to be before it’s considered a classic?

The age range of a classic car is often between 25–50 years old. However, there is no definitive age that makes a car a classic. Different states have different requirements for defining a vehicle as a classic, which may factor in age, weight, usage, or manufacturing.

Where do I have to store my classic car?

In order to qualify for classic car insurance, you must have adequate storage available. An enclosed structure such as a private garage or storage unit is preferred, but carports, driveways, and other storage areas may also be acceptable.

How often can I use my classic car?

Your classic car cannot be your everyday car. It should be for occasional use only. Taking your car out for pleasure driving, exhibitions, tours, and similar trips is acceptable.

Does my driving record impact my classic car insurance?

Yes. In many states, you may not qualify for classic auto insurance if you’ve had excessive speeding violations, reckless driving, and other serious infractions in the last three years.

Do I have to have another car insured with the same insurance carrier?

No, but you will need to maintain an insurance policy on your regular-use vehicle in addition to your classic car insurance policy.

What makes a car a classic?

The exact definition may vary among classic car insurance companies, but Hagerty defines them as "fun-to-drive" vehicles that maintain or appreciate in value and are used primarily for pleasure. A few examples:

  • 1965 Ford Mustang
  • 1975 Volkswagen Beetle
  • 1980 Chevrolet Corvette

If your car is not a classic, you can still be insured. But, you'll need a standard auto policy instead.

How does classic or collector car insurance differ from regular auto insurance? h3

One of the key differences between classic and regular car insurance is that a regular policy may cover you only for the actual cash value of your classic car.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Source: progressive.com


What is Unoccupied and Vacant Home Insurance?

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Vacant & Unoccupied Home Insurance Coverage

Unoccupied and vacant home insurance are specialty insurance products that are designed to provide financial protection from damage or loss of a home that is uninhabited. As vacation rentals remain empty for periods of time this summer, this may be the time to consider vacant home insurance.

Typical homeowners insurance policies won’t cover fire, vandalism, liability or other types of claims on an unoccupied or vacant property. If your summer income property remains vacant for a few months and there is a fire, unoccupied and vacant home insurance would provide coverage where your standard homeowners policy wouldn’t. This type of insurance product can be purchased as a separate policy or as an endorsement. If it’s purchased as a separate policy, you’ll no longer need to pay for a standard homeowners policy. However, if it’s purchased as an endorsement, it serves as an add-on to your existing homeowners policy.

Unoccupied and vacant homes present a greater insurance risk than occupied homes for many reasons, including slower emergency response times and the increased probability of a break-in occuring. For instance, assuming there were fires on the premises of two homes—an occupied home and a vacant home—the fire taking place at the former would, in theory, result in lesser damage since it would likely be reported first by its inhabitants and would be put out more quickly.

The increased insurance risk associated with unoccupied and vacant homes has resulted in insurance companies’ excluding these properties in standard property insurance policies. As a result, homeowners who want coverage for an empty or uninhabited home need to purchase unoccupied or vacant home insurance.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Source: valuepenguin.com


DIY Projects for New Home Owners

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 22, 2020

As a new homeowner, you've got lots to do like fixing it up and making the place your own. Whether you have an hour or all weekend, you can start and finish at least one of these easy home improvement projects without hiring a contractor and taking out renovation loans:

Set Up a Home Recycling Center

Recycling at home can be as easy as organizing recyclable materials in their own containers. Set up bins to collect plastic, glass, steel cans, aluminum and paper/cardboard. Place labels on buckets, boxes or crates. These make excellent containers and are easy to carry when they get full.

Build a Compost Bin

Using a compost bin gets rid of kitchen waste and turns it into a usable fertilizer that is beneficial for gardens, flower beds and house plants. A recycled washing machine tub makes an excellent composter. With the hole at the top just the right size for stirring, the holes along the sides are good for airflow.

Upgrade to Save

Making your home more energy efficient doesn't have to be time consuming or expensive. If your current appliances aren't due for replacement, make the switch with something more simple. Swap out old blinds for energy-efficient roman shades or change light bulbs to CFLs. Compact fluorescent lamps use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, according to EnergyStar.com.

General Home Repairs

Fixing leaky faucets, broken fixtures or squeaky doors is part of owning a home. Unscrew the faucet ring and place teflon tape on the threads. This will allow for a tighter seal and prevent leaks and drips. Oiling a squeaky door hinge or tightening a faucet valve are small things that can be repaired without the aid of a hired hand. WD-40 has become known as a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to home fix ups. It can remove crayon marks from walls and eliminate squeaks and noises from almost any type of fixture or hinge. 

Source: amerifirst.com


Things to Do in Boston In "The New Normal"

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 15, 2020
Lallis & Higgins Insurance, Quincy, Weymouth, MA

As Massachusetts reopens under a 4-Phase plan, activities & experiences around Boston are slowly returning under what is being dubbed the “new normal.” Everyday things to do that were once taken for granted—e.g. kayaking, patio dining, farmers markets—are now Boston’s biggest attractions. For a list of what can open in Massachusetts and when, see this link. In the meantime, here are 10 mostly-outdoor activities you can do in Boston right now…

1) Dine outside

After almost three months under a stay-at-home advisory, Massachusetts restaurants can offer sit-down service again (outdoors only for now). See this link for a running list of rooftops & patios that are NOW OPEN in the Boston area. Boston's first beer garden under the new normal, Harpoon, is now open in the Seaport. And parts of Hanover Street in the North End are being turned into a "cafe zone" for al fresco dining. In Waltham, Moody Street is closed to all vehicular traffic as restaurants begin to serve their customers with outdoor dining.

2) Hit up a farmers market

Farmers markets are back for 2020 -- here is a running list on what's open and where. This year, open-air markets are reopening with new guidelines in place to protect shoppers & vendors from the spread of COVID-19. Booths will be more spaced out, hand sanitizing stations will be available, social distancing will be enforced, and masks will be required.

3) Go to a local beach

You don’t have to venture too far outside of Boston to have a beach day. After all, Boston is a port city. Here are 7 beaches within a 10-mile radius of Downtown Boston:

  • M & L Street Beaches (2.6 miles from DWTN Boston)
  • Pleasure Bay Beach (2.9 miles from DWTN Boston)
  • Carson Beach (3.3 miles from DWTN Boston)
  • Constitution Beach (5.7 miles from DWTN Boston)
  • Wollaston Beach (7.9 miles from DWTN Boston)
  • Revere Beach (8.5 miles from DWTN Boston) *
  • Yirrell Beach (9.6 miles from DWTN Boston)

4) Go shopping

Under phase 2 of Massachusetts' reopening plan, retail stores are now allowed to operate at 25% capacity. Read Boston Magazine's recent shopping experience to know what to expect.

5) Catch a movie at a drive-in theater

With restrictions lifted on drive-in movie theaters, The Mendon Twin Drive-In and Showcase Pop-Up Drive-In at Patriot Place are now open. Marshfield Fair drive-in will be hosting a weekend drive-in movie theater beginning with Father’s Day weekend. BYOM (bring your own mask) in case you have to open your window or exit your vehicle for restroom breaks. Also, Saugus' famous Kowloon restaurant is rumored to be converting their parking into a drive-in movie theater soon.

6) Go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding on the Charles River

Kayaking on the Charles is back...at least at Community Boating Inc. on the Esplanade. Masks must be worn at the dock at all times. 2-hour kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals must be booked in advance. All kayaks, paddles, and life jackets are sanitized between customers.

7) Go for a bike ride, walk, or run

Now is as good of a time than ever to explore Boston’s epic Emerald Necklace -- a 1,100-acre chain of parks linked by parkways and waterways connecting Boston Common, Public Garden, Commonwealth Avenue Mall, The Fens, Forsyth Park, The Riverway, Olmsted Park, Jamaica Pond, Jamaicaway, Arborway, Arnold Arboretum, and Franklin Park. Fun fact: The linear system of parks was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in NYC.

Beyond that, the Boston area is home to literally hundreds of beautiful parks where you can go for a walk, run, or bike ride. Pictured above is North Bank Bridge, which connects Cambridge’s North Point Park with Paul Revere Park in nearby Charlestown.

8) Picnic in the park and/or check out some street art

Parks are open per Massachusetts' reopening plan. Support local restaurants by ordering takeout and enjoying it at a neighborhood park. Just stay six feet apart from other parties that are not within your household.

While you're out, take in some of Boston's best works of public art -- see WBUR's "The 50 Best Works Of Public Art In Greater Boston, Ranked" article from 2016 to get started.

Stay safe & stay healthy.

Source: thebostoncalendar.com


How to Prepare Your Office for Reopening

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 08, 2020
Lallis and Higgins - Quincy, Weymouth, MA

As the country begins to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and employees start heading back into an office setting, employers need to have plans in place to ensure their employees can return safely. While the crisis has made some companies adopt more robust work-from-home policies, such as the big tech giants, office spaces are rapidly evolving for the post-coronavirus era.

In fact, as companies adapt to the new normal, the modern workplace environment may see some permanent changes. As your business plans to reopen the office, these creative office space and furniture ideas will help keep your workers safe.

Rearrange existing office furniture

Right now, the top priority for businesses is to return their employees to the office as quickly and safely as possible. In this first wave of reopening (up to 50% of employees in an office at one time), companies should focus on retrofitting the workplace to align with current health guidelines.

The most immediate way to do this is to rearrange existing office furniture to ensure they comply with social distancing protocols. If possible, employees’ desks should be spaced six feet apart from each other, while other furniture can be rearranged or even removed to add more space. Social distancing can be enforced further with visual design cues to enforce the six-feet rule, as commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield has implemented. One-way traffic may also be enforced to keep employees from making unnecessary contact. Surfaces should also be cleaned more frequently, especially within common areas or with shared items.

Install temporary plexiglass barriers

Many businesses, such as restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores, have already installed temporary plexiglass shields and barriers to stem the spread of the coronavirus. These same barriers can be used in an office environment in areas with high foot traffic and in-person interactions. Temporary plexiglass shields can be placed in conference rooms, on employee desks or in hallways to separate people and maintain social distancing guidelines.

Repurpose communal spaces

For many businesses, large, communal spaces are going unused to comply with social distancing guidelines. These spaces include larger conference rooms, cafeterias and employee lounges. Rather than avoiding these rooms altogether, businesses can repurpose the rooms as temporary workspaces so employees can spread out.

Furthermore, if your company has space outside, you can move employees outdoors with weather permitting.

Open windows instead of turning on the air conditioner

Opening windows is the optimal way to climate-control the office while preventing the spread of coronavirus. Central air conditioners and heaters recirculate the air, which can transmit viral particles from one space to another. In contrast, opening the windows in your office will allow air to flow freely, preventing the virus from circulating through communal spaces.

While not possible for every office building, if you can, open windows around your office to climate control. If your office building does not allow you to open windows, avoid standing near the A/C exhaust, where particles are often trapped.

Purchase additional hand sanitizers

Hand washing is a simple yet effective way to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. As people return to the office, employers should consider purchasing hand sanitizer stations that are placed around common areas, such as break rooms, reception areas, entrances, conference rooms and restrooms to promote good hygiene.

If your office already has hand sanitizing stations in common areas, consider adding personal stations to employee desks. Alternatively, you can supply each worker with their own personal sanitizer each week, along with guidelines for office hand hygiene.

Enforce office capacity policies

Of course, creating distance between employees becomes easier when fewer people are in the building. Many companies are implementing a phased approach to returning people back to the office, such as staggering schedules and encouraging a mixture of remote and on-site work. Communal activities, such as buffet breakfasts and office-wide meetings, should be put on hold or modified to comply with safety regulations.

Install plastic partitions

Although temporary plastic barriers are popping up all over the countries, permanent plexiglass partitions may become the new office norm. Translucent partitions can be a useful tool to keep employees safe, while still being able to communicate freely and maintain some level of connection. This is especially useful in areas where social distancing is not feasible. Plexiglass or glass partitions may be placed in hallways or even inside elevators to minimize the risk of spreading contaminated particles. If you decide to install permanent partitions in your office, look for partitions that are made of antimicrobial materials, which self-sterilize upon contact.

While cubicles seem to be returning to popularity because of COVID-19, architects, building owners, and entrepreneurs may remove one wall in conference rooms to help promote a healthy workplace.

Reconsider cubicles

Over the past couple of decades, cubicles fell out of favor in the modern workplace and were, in many companies, replaced with open-office designs. However, the coronavirus pandemic has made people value private, personal spaces.

To help foster the feeling of an open office workplace while providing a private space for individual employees, plexiglass cubicles may replace the open office concept. While temporary plexiglass partitions are being installed all over the country, the coronavirus may be the reason why cubicles return to the office.

Turn conference rooms into ‘officles’

While cubicles seem to be returning to popularity because of COVID-19, architects, building owners, and entrepreneurs may remove one wall in conference rooms to help promote a healthy workplace. These spaces are known as “officles” because they are a cross between an office and a cubicle. Because these newly renovated spaces only have three walls, air can flow freely throughout the space and potentially prevent germs from gathering in one location.

Create conference spaces rather than rooms

While officles are one way to use transition conference spaces to the new norm, open corners of an office space can be used as a permanent, or makeshift, replacement of a closed conference room. Similar to officles, corner conference rooms promote airflow and can allow employees to spread out from one another.

Rethink the reception area

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, most open offices offered a reception area where customers, clients or other visitors were typically greeted by an employee, then encouraged to sit or grab a cup of coffee while they waited. While this approach certainly made customers feel more comfortable and welcome, reception areas post-COVID could see a major overhaul in the next few months.

Some companies are reimagining the reception area as a decontamination lounge. New procedures, such as taking temperatures at the door, placing hand washing stations in waiting rooms, or even instructing people to take off their shoes, may become commonplace. Meanwhile, amenities that pose a higher risk of spreading germs like self-serve coffee will likely go by the wayside to reduce the risk of transmission. In its place, you may see a sink or hand-washing station that you must use before entering the office.

Update air filtration and ventilation

Coronavirus is thought to spread primarily through droplets spread when we talk, cough and breathe. While many of these droplets fall to the ground and dissipate quickly, smaller particles may linger in the air. Improving air filtration and ventilation is one way to mitigate against these tiny, potentially viral particles.

Many large businesses are poised to upgrade their HVAC systems in the near future to improve airflow and filter out contaminants.

If you don’t have the budget to replace your HVAC, portable air purifiers can be placed around the office for a fraction of the cost. This is especially useful if office windows can’t be opened to air out the space.

Source: USChamber.com



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