As we begin to see the light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel, businesses are facing questions surrounding how to safely, efficiently, and effectively return to some level of normality.
Given the overwhelming and detrimental impact this pandemic has had on the economy, successfully navigating this transition will be of utmost importance. Business owners will need to evaluate operations, put a plan in place to help employees return to the office, and take precautionary measures to ensure the continued safety of all involved.
We did some digging to find out what things might look like as we work to bounce back from this crisis and here’s what we found out…
We’re Staying Home, People!
Before the coronavirus outbreak, many Americans were already making the switch to working from home, and even more were pushing for it despite their employer’s hesitancies. With most if not all offices required to close in March, companies have been forced to examine the reality of a work-from-home format with no other options on the table.
What this shift has done is proven that working from home is a viable option. And in a society that is leaning more towards flexibility in the workplace, it is predicted that many employees will demand some form of telework be incorporated into their standard operating week, even once this pandemic has “ended.”
Telework also comes with significant benefits for companies, including the cost efficiency of cutting down on office space.
“There’s a lot more at play than what employers and workers want, of course. The economic impact of the pandemic will likely force many employers to cut costs. For companies to reduce their rent obligations by letting workers work from home is an easy solution, one that’s less painful than layoffs.”
Respect the Personal Bubble
Despite the need and desire for more telework, some employees will be returning to the office in the coming months. At this point, it has become clear that the spaces we walk back into will not look the same as when we all frantically grabbed our monitors, tossed our half-eaten granola bars in the trash, and headed home.
Changes will certainly need to be made to office spaces across the board in order for people to feel and be safe upon returning to them, which could mean a move away from the recent trend of open offices, communal work areas, and “hot desks.”
“For now… no more shared desks (a concept in the business world known as “hoteling”), elbow-to-elbow seating or cafes where people congregate to chat about a project over a fruit water or hazelnut latte.”
Keep it Clean
Clean freaks and germaphobes can now rejoice because standards for general cleanliness, especially in the workplace, are about to drastically increase. If there is one thing this virus has shown about itself, it’s that it is highly contagious and likes to spread via surfaces.
Unprecedented protocols will need to be put in place to keep the office as safe as possible, which could include new and improved air filters, germ-repellent materials and fabrics, and lots of signage, communication, and social distance reminders. All high-touch surfaces (light switches, copy machines, door handles, coffee makers, water coolers, etc.) will, of course, need frequent sanitizing.
Feel like doing some more reading? Here are all the great articles we found that outline what our return to “normal” might have in store:
- Preparing Your Business for a Post-Pandemic World
- Post-Pandemic Back-To-Business FAQs For Employers
- Work From Home is Here to Stay
- This Is the End of the Office As We Know It
- What to Expect When You Get Back to the Office After Lockdown
- Office Work Will Never Feel the Same After the Coronavirus Pandemic
- How to Make Your Office Safer for Everyone During COVID-19
- The Pandemic May Mean the End of the Open-Floor Office
- How the Biggest Companies in the World are Preparing to Bring Back their Workforce
The post-COVID workplace will certainly look a lot different than it did a few months ago. Companies must be proactive and forthright if they are to bounce back and move forward productively.