Think inside the cardboard box for your post-lockdown work station

Economy
4/4 © Reuters. The CEO of Pallite, Iain Hulmes, works at his desk while protected from his colleagues by the company’s cardboard social distancing screens, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at their HQ in Wellingborough © Reuters. The CEO of Pallite, Iain Hulmes, works at his desk while protected from his colleagues by the company’s cardboard social distancing screens, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at their HQ in Wellingborough 2/4

By Stuart McDill

WELLINGBOROUGH, England (Reuters) – Want to get back to work? Put your staff in a cardboard box.

That is the advice of a British company making social distancing screens from recycled cardboard to help businesses open up after lockdown while keeping staff safe.

“As people have started to come back to work we’ve switched to making a range of distancing-at-work products such as free-standing screens, counter screens and desk partitions,” Iain Hulmes, Chief Executive at Pallite, told Reuters.

The company, 70 miles (112km) northwest of London, used to make recyclable cardboard pallets and boxes for industry but has now developed an entirely new range of products to cope with new workplace demands in the wake of the pandemic including wall screens, desk and table dividers with clear polyester film windows, free-standing signs and even pop-up desks for homeworkers.

“One of our workers at home found that she was struggling to work at home so we created a pop-up desk. That desk has sold over 5000 units in just five weeks with nothing but 5 star reviews,” Hulmes said.

Three sizes of desks, all made from laminated honeycomb paper, can hold 50kg of weight and can be assembled in less than a minute. A desk for an adult costs 26 pounds.

Not far from Pallite’s Wellingborough factory is Concept Conversions who sent all their staff home for the lockdown apart from four people all working in separate rooms.

Director, Ralph Allen, says he is trying to have some fun with themes and colours while using Pallite social distancing measures to keep his staff safe as they return to the office.

“It’s pretty extreme to put your staff into cardboard boxes so the reason for cutting the windows and trimming them in those colours was because I’ve got a Manchester United supporter sitting at my desk and I support Liverpool. Well, that could become Liverpool again couldn’t it?” he said referring to the red trim.

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