Changing behaviour to enable a return to the office

20 May 2020

As some sectors begin to gradually re-enter the workplace, we need to think about how to ensure that our employees feel safe being back at the office.

Protecting our personal space has become a new way of life and we have all changed our daily habits and movements to maintain a social distance. Now, our attention has turned to how we embed these changes in the workplace.

Healthy habits first
With the abundance of guidelines from health authorities, we have all made personal hygiene adaptations. The healthy habits that we adopted in our private lives need to be embedded in our workplaces through personal hygiene (e.g. hand sanitizer, clean and uncluttered desks) and communal hygiene (e.g. no-touch soap dispensers, no touch waste and recycling bins).

The rise of the virtual meeting
With the strict restrictions around international and local travel, and our ways of engagement having changed swiftly and dramatically, how will traditional meeting spaces be affected? Together with the social distancing norms, the decrease in travel will result in continued virtual internal and external meetings, which are set to be the new normal. These virtual meetings must be backed by strong network connectivity, suitable platforms and a supportive physical environment. Instead of your existing meeting suite comprising a variety of meeting room sizes (some seating up to 24 people), there will be a shift to acoustically sound, well designed video conferencing rooms.

A cultural shift
It will be important to implement rules within your environment that are easy to follow and give your workforce a sense of comfort. This cultural shift will include changes like alternate work days for working remotely, adjusted start times, and minimal sharing of tech items (e.g. individuals issued a personal mouse, keyboard and headset). As with any significant change in the workplace, change management will be key to embedding these new ways of working.

As we plan and gradually re-enter our offices, it will be important to keep our employees at the centre of all decisions and changes we make. We’re here to for a chat or to discuss solutions to quickly and inexpensively adapt your workplace to better support your employees as you re-enter your workspace. Visit our COVID-19 hub for more information.

This article was first published on LinkedIn.