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COVID-19: Using Floor Zoning to Create Safe Commercial Spaces

24 June 2020

a 3-minute read

No one knows how long the current social distancing protocols will be in place as a result of COVID-19, or what new practices may be implemented in the future. What we do know however, is that companies need to return to work, and while remote working may be a viable solution in the short-term, for most workplaces, there’s still a requirement to have a central commercial space. But how can we make those commercial spaces productive and safe?

Forbo Flooring

Source: Forbo Flooring

Floor Zoning

Floor zoning was one of the biggest office design trends long before the pandemic began. But now creating distinct zones is not just an effective way to enhance the experience of a building for its users, it’s also a simple way to create adaptive, less densely populated workspaces that are perfectly suited to the ‘new normal’. 

Floor zoning is a simple technique that allows you to visually create partitions in your open space without having to build walls. Instead, you can clearly define areas simply by adding colour and texture to your flooring to give staff visual clues about spacing. 

Here are a few attractive and practical ways to introduce floor zoning into your commercial space.

Modular flooring systems

Modular flooring was once used predominantly in garages and manufacturing settings, but it’s now finding a home wherever a low-cost, resistant and agile flooring system is required. 

Modular flooring is well-suited to floor zoning, as it can be installed very quickly to delineate walkways, break-out spaces and whole rooms or areas within those rooms. By introducing a new textile, the flooring is doing the job of the walls by signalling that the area is different from those around it.  The modular nature of tiles makes them perfect for this application, allowing you to introduce different colours, textures and patterns simply or create flow and points of interest in a larger space.  

At Donnelly Watson, we love using flooring from Forbo or Altro to create striking zonal floors. 


Rugs are an effective and versatile way to create visual excitement and to delineate areas sharply. This technique is commonly seen in open plan living spaces, but rugs are equally at home in small and medium-sized offices, where they can brighten up the clinical look of many workspaces while at the same time warming floors. 

The rugs you choose should suit the mood and the intended function of each zone. Flatweaves made of polypropylene are best suited to office kitchen spaces thanks to their hardwearing nature and their resistance to spills, while wool rugs will transform your break-out space into a sumptuously soft and inviting zone. The beauty of rugs is that they can be easily switched in or out to adapt to your changing workplace. The same can’t be said when installing new floors. 

Concept flooring   

Concept flooring is designed to withstand the most difficult challenges, making it ideally suited to any environment where durable, highly resistant flooring is required. Carpet tiles have not been thought of as a particularly innovative flooring solution for a long time, but they are an inexpensive and very effective way to create colourful and textured zones in commercial spaces. 

At Donnelly Watson, we supply luxury floors from Karndean and use carpet tiles from Paragon, Gradus and Detto to create striking and impactful zones and walkways in a diverse range of commercial environments. 

Forbo Flooring

Source: Forbo Flooring

Commercial flooring for the ‘new normal’

Donnelly Watson has incorporated floor zoning into commercial spaces across Ipswich and the South East with exceptional results. 

To book a private consultation with our team, please use the booking form below or visit our dedicated Commercial Flooring Appointments page; which provides further information on how we are supporting businesses during this time.

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