Running a business has never been more challenging, it seems like every week there is something new to consider, a new situation to confront or some new government legislation to be interpreted.
Apart from keeping your business afloat, undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges is getting your staff back safely in to the workplace and the changes you will have to make to accommodate this.
Not to put too finer point on it – it’s an absolute minefield – as an employer you have to consider not only how to comply with complex legislation but also (and arguably more importantly) the thoughts, worries and wishes of your staff.
The team here at Morre Interiors have put together a list of some of the areas you might want to consider to help keep your workforce safe:
Staggered Start Times
There is much talk at the moment of what the new normal will look like in terms of the work place and the hope is that we will all learn from how we adapted during the crisis. Rush hour and the daily commute are two things that should be challenged as we strive to keep our work forces safe and indeed motivated when they “come back”. It’s difficult to see why, after three successful months working remotely, we should all have to back in the office at 9am every day as a matter of course.
Many businesses, where it’s deemed essential to be in the workplace, are looking at staggering start and finish times to avoid too many people crowding in and out of the office at the same time. This can help in a number of ways, including fewer people in the office at any given time as well as the motivational benefits of staff not having to suffer the peak time commute.
Allocation of Space
Most businesses are considering the staff resources they will need as we move out of full lockdown and into some form of normality and this process needs to go hand in hand with allowing sufficient space for sensible social distancing in the work place. Fewer desks on the office floor helps as does the use of larger desks where possible to ensure distancing.
Unfortunately, as we hear all to often, there are likely to be high levels of redundancies in many business sectors as companies do their best just to keep going. This unfortunate enforced downsizing will mean there is naturally more space in the office, space that can be used to ensure adequate social distancing as empty offices and meeting rooms can be used as additional space for workstations to reduce contamination.
Meetings & Meeting Rooms
We’ve managed , in most cases very successfully, to have meetings on Zoom for the last 3 months so why should we feel the need to go back to the traditional office meeting of old? Business leaders are realising that we need to learn from the lockdown period to shape how we work moving forward.
Physical meetings, if necessary, will need to be smaller, shorter with more spacing but many businesses are questioning the need for the meeting in the first place. Instead they are focusing on the objectives and desired outcomes and then finding new ways to achieve them.
Unfortunately, it looks like the aesthetics of the office are going to have to take a back seat for a while as we concentrate on reducing contamination and keeping our people safe. Screens between desks, additional hand sanitisers around the workplace and distancing signs may not be the pleasing on the eye but they are essential and will need to be in place for some time.
If we are going to return to work safely we need to look a variety of ways to reduce the risk of infection in place. High frequency touch points – taps, door handles, kitchen surfaces and lift buttons among others – will need more regular cleaning to reduce the chance of contamination and some businesses are looking at introducing temperature testing for all people entering the work space.
The “new normal” will change and adapt over time as move slowly out of the danger zone but in the mean time it’s the responsibility of business leaders to keep all their staff as safe as possible – providing them with everything they need to give them piece of mind about a safe return to work.