As I mentioned in my last article in this publication, what kind of support should you expect during a Pandemic from your vendors? It’s been more than four months now since the initial shut down of all New York City business, and we are still very much in the business of offering support to our customers in the form of furniture rental solutions. Last month, we helped Seton Hall University Law School open classes to their students. A law school I’m told cannot operate in a virtual environment and must provide direct in person schooling to its students. In all, we did provide some 72 training tables appropriately spaced six feet apart to help maintain social distancing guidelines. The facility manager John Flanagan was instrumental in making this a reality and made sure that we could perform on time as promised. And I’m told that our solution made his goal of opening possible on time and within budget.
For another local, New Jersey based construction company , ULMA Forms Works, we removed their existing 39” high panel surrounds which wrapped “L” desk units and replaced them with 67” high panels for even greater protection and to help provide a safe barrier between employees. We had suggested the Plexiglass screens that are so much today’s new trend solution but at only 14” in height it would not have given them the assurance they wanted and needed to feel safe in today’s environment. Managing director Charlie Strandberg was happy with the outcome and we’re now suggesting some mobile white boards that are 72” high to provide some lateral protection in the office as well as the direct protection offered by the office partitions or panel systems.
We delivered and installed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project, many office cubicles at their new field office in Houston, Texas which gave them the assurance of knowing that they too complied with the newest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. For other schools and institutions of learning we’ve done numerous quotes with suggestions on how to provide the safety and assurance that they needed to protect both students and faculty. In many cases school administrators decided to go virtual instead, at least for the first semester, while they gauge the outcome of that decision.
Another very good solution that also happens to be quite cost effective is using our SCREENFLEX partition system an accordion based system that’s 72” high and 24 feet in length. Since it can be run in a straight line, to divide a room safely as well as configured easily in an “L” or a “U” shape it’s a flexible solution as well. It not only accomplishes the task of space division, but since it doesn’t require any costly assembly it’s a budget friendly solution as well.
Our special events and trade show business has been affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic and we’ve been able to utilize several of our special event and trade show inventory to enhance some of our commercial furniture rental projects. This has given many of these installations a contemporary and upscale look not previously available in our commercial product offering. Our customers have responded favorably because of this and it’s helped solidify some long-term customer relationships. We’ve made them feel special and offered them an upgraded corporate look or higher end office design. This has indeed been a win/win for both our customers and our company. We’re grateful to have been able to participate and provide so many companies, schools and institutions with prompt service and timely solutions.
Some other trends, of course from common sense, like placing footprint markers on the floor to encourage safe social distancing. Also educating the employees on the correct protocol. Thinking outside the box in terms of design layouts, and of course masking off half the chairs in the lobby reception area as off limits helps too. We’ve seen that at many doctor’s offices lately, and that’s again simply good common sense.
At AFR Furniture Rental, Inc., we’re working diligently to provide fast solutions, a wide range of options, flexible terms and a commitment to keeping your staff employed and safe. We look forward to working with you in the coming months.
Ron Lanzo is the national account manager at AFR Furniture Rental Inc., New York, N.Y.