Our Irish law firm has about 750 staff, and currently has around 120 staff back in the office at any one time.
We hope to have around 50 to 60% of staff back by January, but it’s hard to predict as home working is now well established and it’s working well.
Our client meeting rooms are not currently used, although the Facilities Manager is currently dealing with exceptions, while still applying social distancing rules.
The firm’s return to work approach
Our firm has adopted the 2m social distancing rule. Rendezvous workspace technology is used to help control building occupancy, and to enable desk and room booking for our agile workers.
All our desks are in service but are auto blocked depending on proximity to each user – maintaining careful control of our building occupancy by enforcing desk and office booking, regardless of use pattern, fixed or hot desk.
Dual occupancy of an office has been moved to single occupancy, so shared occupants cannot book at the same time. This has led to individual relocations of staff to facilitate team splits, such as partner/trainee being on-site together.
The entire building workflow has been adapted for the new normal, including lifts, signage and other elements like implementing one-way systems, floor markings, removal of furniture, and reduced capacity in changing rooms.
How the B2W strategy was rolled out
A detailed plan was made and communicated to all staff. In addition, an online Return 2 Work (R2W) Induction Module was drawn up.
A comprehensive video was created showing the new processes as well as the technology support available, including a video of the building and adjusted services.
Responsibility for booking and health certification was made the responsibility of the individual – completing of the R2W Induction Module was mandatory for all employees before any desk bookings were approved.
An internal system including an online in-house contract tracing system was designed to complement the mobile booking system for trace and track, so staff are asked at the end of the day who they have been in close contact with.
Staff were required to take the online B2W training module, which provides the toolkit for getting back to work, and expectations for all staff were set out clearly at the outset, so there was little room for bypassing the process.
Email notifications are sent to employees and visitors as part of the health check and trace and track activity. A self-health check questionnaire is issued instead of a reminder booking each morning to those who are booking a desk or a room.
QR codes for check-in and check out have also been put on each desk. This is planned for the future, when more desk booking flexibility may be required.”