Looking at bringing back your team to the office? Here’s some great and effective ideas to keep you and your team safe…
The process of allowing your team to return to the office for the first time since the pandemic began can be quite complex with many factors to consider. For a lot of organisations, this still may not be possible, or they may choose not to, or plans may be fluid due to changes with Government guidance and advice. For those who are able to return to the office, there are elements that need to be considered and changes implemented in order to do so safely.
So, what measures do you need to consider?
- Social distancing
- Reduced headcount, Flexible and remote working
- Protective screens and PPE supplies
- Frequent testing
Many working professionals have been working remotely since the Spring of 2020 and this new way of working has become the norm for most. While many organisations continue to work from home, some are now looking to return to the office to allow employees to experience more normality.
All businesses now have the responsibility to ensure they create and maintain a ‘Covid Safe’ work environment for their organisation and considering the welfare of their employees. Here are some of the key focus areas and changes to implement to allow your business a smooth and safe transition when returning to the office environment.
- Social Distancing Measures
Social and physical distancing has become the new norm we are accustomed to with our friends, families and now our colleagues. Organisations must comply with government guidelines and allow for 2m social distancing where possible, or 1m plus in some areas and specific sectors.
How is this implemented in the office?
Organisations are re-configuring office layouts and seating arrangements to allow for distancing measures to take place which includes the reduction of face to face seating as this is reported to reduce the transmission of the virus. Organisations are also implementing one-way systems to control the flow of staff throughout the office and adapting communal spaces such as breakout areas and meeting rooms.
- Hygiene Stations
Hand sanitiser, antibacterial wipes and hand wash were three items in huge demand at the start of the pandemic with restrictions put on purchases and many shops displaying empty shelves. Now the supply chain seems balanced, these three items are key to hygiene stations in retail, hospitality, beauty settings, healthcare and now the office space. Organisations are encouraging employees to utilise the hygiene stations on arrival and departure from the office alongside frequent handwashing and hygiene station visits to limit the spread of the virus.
- Intensive and Regular Cleaning Regimes
Organisations have had to increase their cleaning regime frequency, some with even more rigorous and intensive processes and increased number of specialist cleaning products. This is to ensure a clean and safe environment and eliminating any potential virus exposure.
- Reduced Headcount in the Office
Working on a rota for skeleton staff in the office or having some staff working from home allows organisations to keep to social distancing. It also reduces the risk of a business wide outbreak by reducing the number of team members exposed to one another. So, if you can implement these measures, it can have many benefits for your organisation.
- Protective Screens and PPE Supplies
In certain industries and office settings, additional measures need to be implemented to eliminate risks where social distancing measures cannot always be adhered to. In this case, some organisations have installed PPE screens in areas such as contact centres to divide the seating arrangements or in over the counter environments. Masks and gloves have also been supplied for employees in some settings for extra protection and reassurance for employees.
- Frequent testing
Lateral flow tests have been rolled out to organisations, schools and individuals to encourage frequent testing to ensure infectious individuals can prevent exposing themselves to others. This element massively contributes to eliminating potential outbreaks by establishing asymptomatic cases. Lateral flow tests are free and can easily be accessed through testing sites and online requests. Read more here...
The workplace we know has already changed dramatically throughout the pandemic and many changes will likely remain more of a permanent fixture for some time yet. With all the challenges and changes businesses have had to adapt to, it is important to reflect on the achievements of managers, business owners and employees during this time. Many have demonstrated resilience, optimism, and innovation to get to the point they are now, and that should be celebrated as success during what has been a very turbulent time.
How Can We Help You?
Hopefully, we can with our market knowledge even if it’s simply pointing you in a different direction.
Our involvement in the recruitment process over the last 29 years means we have seen a range of techniques, ideas and platforms used by clients which could help you.
These are unprecedented times. The pandemic has created challenges for us all, not only in our personal lives but also our professional lives and if we can help you in any way ... we will.