Getting Ready To Get Back To “Normal”

Back in March, virtually overnight, businesses across the globe were forced to adopt a remote working strategy for all their staff as lockdown was implemented to try and reduce the impact of Covid – 19.

Now some 13 weeks later, we are about to reverse the process albeit in a more measured and gradual way (thankfully) – businesses now at least have the benefit of taking at least a bit of time to plan when and how their staff returns to the work place.

As if business owners and leaders didn’t have enough to think about at the moment, they now have to undertake back to work planning in line with the seemingly ever-changing government Covid – 19 guidelines.

Undoubtedly one of the main considerations in the short term is the social distancing guidelines – the 2 metre rule – and the impact that has on the work space. However add in to the mix the actual number of workers returning to full time employment (and when) and balancing the work from home vs workspace based roles that will be discussed at length and the scale of the challenge grows.

Here are some things you might want to consider when making plans to fully re open your business:

What does your post Covid workforce look like?

You’ve had 13 weeks to re evaluate your business so what has changed and what have you learned during these unprecedented times? What working practices do you want to keep as we move in to the “new normal”. How big is your new workforce? How many of them will be expected to work from home? So many questions to consider that it may seem overwhelming but now is the time to start.

How does your workforce feel about returning to work?

This has been a tough, emotional 13 weeks for an awful lot of people, we have all had to deal with completely new situations and it certainly hasn’t been easy. Now would be a good time to find out how your people are feeling about coming back – what are their challenges and concerns and most importantly, how can you help? Why not go old school and write to them and ask them? By understanding their concerns, you will be better equipped to make the return to work as smooth as possible.

How much space will you need?

If social distancing stays at 2 metres then what does that mean in terms of how many people you can actually accommodate in your workspace? Every workspace is different and the functions within them differ greatly too but remember there are a number of options open to you

  • Can you stagger the return to work – essential staff or those who want to first?
  • What roles can comfortably work remotely (and how many people want to)?
  • Can you introduce shifts to maximise use of your workspace?
  • Can you implement staggered start times to ease the burden on key areas?

Most businesses adapted very successfully and very quickly to remote working, if you are one of those then don’t waste the valuable experience and insight you’ve gained over the last 3 months – use it and make it work to your advantage in the new normal.

As you can see there is more to consider and more options available to you than you may have initially thought but a good starting point is to conduct a risk assessment as recommended by the government. Your most pressing objective is to protect your workforce from the virus, putting measures in place to reduce or eliminate any further spread once you have asked them to return to work. A thorough risk assessment will highlight areas of concern and show where your action plan should start and what measures you will need to take.

Morre Interiors can help with advice on the flexibility of your workspace and what is possible. We are specialists in office refits and refurbs with experience of projects of all sizes throughout London and the Home Counties. Get in touch and we can advise you on what is needed and what is possible.