Read about the considerations you need to make in the workplace for a happy, healthy and adapted professional environment.
Within a matter of months, the world changed…
The workplace as we know it, was no more.
Going to work was cancelled, and instead, it was replaced with pyjama video conferences, too many FaceTimes with nana and not quite enough 9am Instagram PE sessions to keep off those corona stones.
Can you even remember what the workplace was like before the pandemic?
As an employer, the chances are you have done nothing but think about not only how your workspace is, but how it is going to be in a post-pandemic world?
How can you ensure that staff are kept safe even with the new 1m distance rule?
How can you reassure employees and keep them feeling comfortable and able to do their jobs well?
Nothing yet, is certain. However, there are some key considerations you can make as an employer to be well prepared. Think about the following points to prepare your workplace and your staff as much as possible during such an uncertain time…
How Are Your Team Doing?
You need to understand what your team’s feelings, expectations and experiences are. What have they been through during lockdown? What are their individual concerns? What vulnerabilities or challenges do specific employees have?
Setting up a way for your team to openly communicate with you is important. This could be done through 1-2-1 video calls or phone calls, or with a digital survey, depending on your preferences.
You may also wish to allow anonymous questions or concerns to be posed, so that staff aren’t worried about being penalised for voicing their worries.
Moving forward your staff need to be able to express their concerns freely. HSE and Citizens Advice have reported huge surges in enquiries about safe working practises from staff returning to work recently.
“At the core of healthy team relationships is trust and respect.” – Jim Highsmith
Staff should feel comfortable at work. For that to happen you have to first properly communicate how things in your workspace work now and maintain those rules across the board. Then, allow staff to continue to let you know if they have any concerns or worries.
Your work environment has to be safe to bring employees back into it
How are you going to overcome the practical challenges of hygiene and social distancing?
There is no getting away from your responsibility as an employer to ensure your staff can return to work safely.
You’ll want to assess how to:
- Contact your building landlord about the shared responsibility of the buildings communal areas and ensuring they are suitable for use
- Enable 1m social distancing within the workplace with options like: split rotas, lower maximum attendance capacities, physical barriers and single/ spaced desks
- Implement remote working across the board where possible for workload and completion flexibility
- Communicate how employees interact with the work environment with the changes using signage, helpful tools and equipment
- Provide adequate hygiene facilities whilst enabling social distancing
- Ensure any shared facilities like the kitchen comply with social distancing rules
- Shut down any areas that cannot be deemed safe at this time
You can also find a lot of industry specific safety guidance from the government here.
There’s plenty of people to help
It may seem like a lot to get right, but it’s absolutely doable.
There are so many innovative solutions to ensure your office adapts to the necessary changes. If you are unsure, there are companies who can help you.
Office construction experts with agile expertise are able to work around any challenge, they have been doing that for years already.
Each and every company is unique in their needs, and the coronavirus is just another new challenge to boost innovation within the world of agile working. Don’t underestimate the options available to you, and the many new products available to help make it work, and work well.
Even more importantly, using agile methods applied with the right expertise and ingenuity will ensure that your office is able to continue to adapt and remain flexible for the foreseeable future.
When will we return to normal?
There is no returning to normal
Instead a continued need to be consistently problem solving well. Times will remain changeable. The smartest companies will provide a safe workplace for staff whilst remaining forward-thinking at all times, ready to adjust accordingly at every new hurdle.
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” – Stephen Hawking
You have your people. As long as they remain at the heart of what you do, you’re golden. You have to adjust, you have to change, but the core of your business will grow because of this. Your post-epidemic business will strengthen.