Returning To The Office: What can businesses and employees expect?
With lockdown restrictions continuing to ease, a return to the office could be on the horizon but what does that mean for you and your business?
For many businesses, working from home has now become the norm.
Virtual meetings with colleagues on Teams and Zoom, webinars and other online activities are nowhere near as unfamiliar as they might have once seemed at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Despite the downside of home working isolation and not being able to speak to colleagues in person or have the fun chats and discussions which break up the working day, businesses are benefiting from reduced overheads and office running costs without staff there on a daily basis.
Employees are also better off financially with little or no travel costs to and from their employment.
According to a report by the National Association for Business Economics only one in ten businesses expect all their staff to return to the office after the pandemic.
That may be the case, but now there is light at the end of the tunnel.
With the continued rollout of vaccinations and with restrictions easing, businesses are starting to return to the office in some capacity.
So what does heading into work mean for those returning after a long time away and what can staff expect to find that’s different than when they packed up their PCs and laptops to work from home permanently?
Businesses are unlikely to bring all their staff back into the office at once. Most will bring people back in on certain days and times so they become familiar with the workplace environment again and to ensure work spaces aren’t full to capacity.
That could mean employees spending 2-3 days at home and 2 days in the office initially in an almost 50/50 split.
A return to the office will feel different for everyone and you could find you’re not at your usual desk or even in the same office.
More hot desking is likely to be implemented, particularly as workers come in and out of the workplace at different times, and some desk spaces may be completely out of action for the time being to create more room.
Many businesses were already implementing a more casual approach anyway before the pandemic but this could now become more common place in companies, particularly as there is still likely to be reduced face-to-face meetings with clients and many meetings continuing to take place virtually.
No more tea rounds
You were probably used to taking it in turns in your team or office to make cups of tea or coffee at different times of the day.
But tea rounds could now be a thing of the past as workers opt to make their own drinks -avoiding the need for anyone to touch their cup or make one for them.
One-way systems and sanitisers
Walking around the workplace or office space speaking to who you want to when you want to was probably something you took for granted, but not anymore.
Workplaces are likely to have more one way systems in place to minimise staff contact and expect to see more hand sanitisers dotted around the building than you were used to seeing before.
There’s no doubt things will be different but it’s important that businesses and employees adapt to these changes and make sure the workplace is a safe and comfortable environment for everyone to return to – if your business is planning a return.
The world is now a different place than it was before the pandemic and that applies to the workplace too.