It is without a doubt that most people will be returning to an office that is different to how they have left it. We discuss some of the changes of features you might experience if, and when, you return to the office:
Working from home
With most of us working from home for the last 2 months and continuing to do so for the foreseeable future it may result in many of us not returning. With many companies big and small already increasing staff flexibility as to where they work.
Maybe it useful to rename this, 'Working from Anywhere" from now. With cloud technologies there is in-fact no need for an office like there was a mere ten years ago. We do not need to be plugged into a server or a printer and company culture can thrive from the trust required to enable a work from anywhere policy.
When you work
To adhere to social distancing and reduce the number of people in the office at any one time altered working hours are likely. Whether that’s half of the office working Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the office and the rest of the week at home or employers increasing flexibility around working hours. A shift towards core working hours of 11am-3pm and flexibility as to start and leave times.
Getting to work
Piling on to a train or tube at rush hour is no longer viable therefore more scheme or facilities to enable employees to cycle, walk, run or drive to work may be put in place. Whether that’s an increase in uptake of the cycle to work scheme or an overall improvement of the cycle networks across the country. Some people must take public transport in order to get to work so increased flexibility with start times is likely to be seen so that employees can miss rush hour.
Navigating the office
Once inside the office there is likely to be restricted use on lifts and staircases. Marking to indicate appropriate social distancing with one way systems and separate entry and exit doors if possible like those provided by nettle (https://www.nettl.com/uk/covid-19-essentials/). If your office has external clients visiting, they are likely to be directed to peripheral office rooms.
Shared kitchen spaces are likely to be closed or only allow a limited number of people in at any one time. For frequent cleaning and disinfecting of office spaces is likely and the introduction of additional dividers to reduce the spread of coughs and sneezes. Employee packs may be provided to supply gloves, face masks and hand sanitiser.https://www.takecarebox.co.uk/#OurPurpose is doing this already by providing safety guides, hand sanitiser, gloves, face masks, anti-viral sprays and self- testing kits. Hand sanitiser stations are likely to be introduced like those provided by nettle (https://www.nettl.com/uk/covid-19-essentials/).
With many modern offices being open plan and incorporating hot desks it is likely these will have to be reconfigured to accommodate social distancing measures with additional screens and dividers installed like Office reality (https://www.officereality.co.uk/prod/9897/future-protection-frameless-glazed-screens). Privacy pods may be used to separate space and allow for private calls such as those provided for by https://hushoffice.com/en/.
There is likely to be a major change in office space but it is unlikely to disappear all together. With fewer people in the office however the additional perks of a city centre office may no longer out way the commute and higher house/rent prices therefore start-ups are more likely to attract the best talent when recruiting due to their increased flexibility.
This does provide a great opportunity for start-ups to fill the gaps in the market and move quickly to provide employers with the equipment and information they need to adapt the working environment. With Take Care (https://www.takecarebox.co.uk) providing all in one personal safety kits.
The below link can help you prepare by providing a range of social distancing products to help the ease back into the office. https://www.nettl.com/uk/covid-19-essentials/
The World Health Organisation has provided clear guidance on measures that can be put in place to protect your work force https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/getting-workplace-ready-for-covid-19.pdf.