Thursday 27 May 2021
The pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone, however, restrictions are being lifted and we are returning to a sense of very near normality and many workplaces that have not already gone back are making plans to do so.
Returning to the office is exciting for most people, but for a minority this may not be the case. The first vital stage to getting people back into the office is understanding how your people feel about the prospect. One to one discussions are the best way of determining this, but where these are difficult practically, a survey can be a good alternative. Whilst keeping this anonymous may solicit a more frank response, remember that this would not then allow you to address specific concerns.
As part of this process pay particular attention to any misinformation or misunderstandings. We live in a highly complex world with many different ways to access information. Not all of these sources will be reliable or accurate, causing unnecessary anxiety. Correcting any misunderstandings with hard facts can be very re-assuring.
One of the most powerful ways to re-assure people that it is safe to return to the office is to outline all the measures that you have taken to make the workplace as safe as possible. These might seem obvious to you, because you have been involved in implementing them but this is likely not to be the case for people who have been working from home since COVID first arrived.
But what other things can you do?
Re-organising the office layout to space desks as far apart as possible, can also provide vital re-assurance.
Consider more flexible start and finish times to avoid the more busy periods.
Be creative. One insurance group in Hampshire implemented a coloured wristband scheme for staff, which allowed people to highlight how apprehensive they are feeling. This is visible to other colleagues allowing them to be more considerate but also means business owners can get an overall perspective on the views of their workforce and become aware of any changes.
Maybe consider cleaning during daytime hours so that your employees can see hygiene practices first hand.
Consider nominating a COVID Officer who employees can go to with any concerns or queries that they may have upon returning.
Pay particular attention to the general wellbeing of your employees. One of the most commonly reported downsides to working from home, was a sense of “always being on”. Ensuring your employees take a lunch break and get away from their desk can have a very positive impact.
If your office is within premises owned by somebody else, like Eagle Tower, share what measures they are taking.
Here at Eagle Tower we have taken steps to protect all our staff, our customers and their employees. We have fitted Temperature Screening Cameras, for quick and easy detection of skin surface temperatures. Our security team will be able to view thermal imaging CCTV and if a high temperature is detected, we will notify the person immediately so that they can take the suitable next steps. Access to Eagle Tower is now touch-free, with new entrance doors in place, we have one way systems in place and hand sanitising stations around the building. All this means that in addition to our tenant organisation’s procedures, we can offer them a further layer of protection.
Key Take-Away Points