Despite the reported trepidation in some quarters at some point workers are going to have to think about getting back to the workplace after what has been an extraordinary year.
It’s not just workers that need to make a plan – leaders need to think carefully about how they manage the transition from couch to office space with due care and attention to workers’ health.
How to turn the trickle of workers to a torrent
While it may be fanciful to expect offices to return to normal occupancy in the short term it is still necessary for workers to engage in at least some face to face contact even if it is once or twice per week.
For their part, workers are now expressing what is being called “zoom fatigue” with a marked decline in engagement from online meeting attendees and a loss of productivity. Seeing the “whites of their eyes” and encouraging human interaction is vital for companies looking to achieve their objectives in the short to medium term.
You need to ask three searching questions:
1) Is getting back to the workplace essential? If people can continue to work from home employers should at least consider continuing to do that for the foreseeable future. If they cannot work from home, is their work deemed essential to your business operation? If not, could these employees be furloughed?
2) Is it sufficiently safe? You have a duty of care to identify and manage risks to make sure that the workplace is safe to return to. We recommend you take your time with gradual returns to work to test health and safety measures before welcoming large numbers back to work.
3) Is getting back to the workplace mutually agreed? It’s crucial that there is a clear dialogue between employers and their staff so that concerns, such as commuting by public transport, can be raised and individual needs and worries are taken into account. Both sides need to be flexible to accommodate different working times and schedules.
In summary – the initial analysis is important but getting back to the workplace safely can only be successful through management and worker buy in.
How technology helps
Technology can play a key role in helping you negotiate the current situation. Agile working technology can help in terms of scheduling a necessarily flexible workforce in their safe return to the workplace. What’s more it can also help in terms of providing the data needed to drive social distancing measures.
This technology helps to:
Enforce social distancing – the technology makes it easy to ensure that staff can only book desks that are a safe distance apart. Watch this video to see how this works in practice.
Create socially distanced meetings – Decrease the maximum capacity of rooms/spaces, based on supporting safe distancing. Support new layouts and configurations.
Maintain hygiene – automatically build in setup and breakdown time to support sanitation services to a room or workstation booking. Communicate those requirements and empower staff with a mobile friendly checklist of services required.
Count people in real-time – using sensor technology and digital signage see at a glance be able to see how many people are within the rooms, space, workstations and overall site with real-time feedback related to occupancy.
Create no touch desk check in/out – using QR codes and RFID it is easy to check in to the desk with no touch. Desk panels enable staff to see which desks are available and which are being cleaned.
Find out more
It’s a new field for many workplace leaders, we know. So we’ve created a number of engaging and informative resources to help you navigate through this journey.
Read our data blog to see how the technology drives space optimization and social distancing