The world has changed in numerous ways because of the pandemic that has plagued everyone around the globe. Every aspect of our lives changed because of it, so returning to how we used to do things might not be the best way to handle things. For employees worldwide, the post-pandemic office return is a big question mark because of this.
How will things change? How should companies prepare for the post-pandemic office return?
For companies looking to better their handling of employees’ return to the office, here are seven steps that will be useful.
Prioritize health and safety
Once more people come back to work in the office, workplaces need to continue being vigilant with health and safety practices. The pandemic slowing down should not be an indication that workplace health and safety practices that appeared should also be slowing down.
Instead, let’s apply the lessons we learned during the pandemic.
Be more vigilant when it comes to hand-washing, and keep enough hand-washing implements available in the office. Remember to clean the office often and sanitize the places in the office that people use together, like copiers, kitchen/pantry equipment, etc.
We should still consider health and safety a priority in the workplace post-pandemic so that employees and other people who come into the office are safe.
Practice and encourage proper hygiene
Of course, it will be nigh impossible to maintain a healthy and safe environment if people don’t practice proper hygiene. The office should encourage everyone to keep or start practicing good hygiene habits. The best way the office can encourage that is by making it easier for everyone to be hygienic.
For example, ensure that you have hand sanitizers easy to access in multiple areas around the office. Another way to encourage proper hygiene is by putting up signs around the office of simple and easy adequate hygiene practices that they should do.
It would be best if you also encouraged employees to take sick leave when they’re sick. Don’t punish them by dumping a whole load of work for them when they come back or making them feel guilty when they need to take sick leave. All these things together will help people be more hygienic in the office.
Show support on your employee’s mental well-being.
The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental well-being in one way or the other. Some people who live by themselves will feel lonely because of the pandemic. Others have lost something during the pandemic. Either way, it will do everyone good to be a little more agreeable to everyone when people start coming back to the office.
The post-pandemic office return should be about supporting one another to get back on track at work. However, it should also be about helping one another overall.
Perhaps you might even want to organize a mental health session for your employees with mental health professionals’ help.
Regain and improve productivity
There may be a few bumps on the road of productivity once everyone is back at the office. People will want to mingle and catch up, which is understandable. However, it might take a toll on the overall productivity of everyone in the office. Companies everywhere should be understanding of that and take measures to help ease people back into productivity.
One way to do that would be to be more open to flexible working hours for some or everyone. You can do this for the first few weeks to get things together.
In other cases, you might want to talk about allowing people to have a permanent work-from-home or remote working situation.
These small ways of adapting newer working styles will make it a lot easier for the office to regain and improve productivity.
Implement physical security strategies
According to the Alarm System Store, since more people are working from home, the office might be more vulnerable since fewer people are there. If anything, the office people would be the IT staff because people are working from home. However, that means that not enough people are present in the office.
Even post-pandemic, more employees are going to incorporate the work-from-home lifestyle. Thus, there is a considerable need to implement physical security strategies in the office.
There are plenty of potential security strategies that offices can apply—for example, using higher security locks. The use of more surveillance cameras in key places of the office is also ideal. Of course, a more robust anti-burglar security system should be one of the many security additions post-pandemic.
Redesign the physical workplace
Some companies decided to open their office up even before we’ve fully contained the virus. Although this isn’t the ideal step, a physical workplace redesign might be to make this work without harming everyone further.
One physical change would be everyone’s desks. Desks shouldn’t be too open nor too close to one another, even after the pandemic. That way, things are hygienic. Aside from the desks, the conference rooms should also get more cleaning and sanitization since many people use it.
All-in-all, many physical changes in the workplace will involve either creating more space or creating a protective boundary between the employees.
Rethink your visitor management policies
How companies handle the visitors that they entertain will also change post-pandemic. More offices should require logs for visitors who come in and out of the office, including contractors and guests. Offices should also be more vigilant with screening the guests that they entertain in their workplace after the pandemic.
Over to You
After the pandemic, returning to the office can be a dubious concept because of what we’ve all experienced. However, it’s inevitably going to happen. Thus, companies have a responsibility towards their office to adapt and change in a way that makes the transition easier on everyone.
The steps listed above are a few of the possible actions that companies can take. However, they’re not the only one. Offices should continue to experiment and find out how their company can change for the better to deal with everything after the pandemic.