Workplace Update – Re-entry to Office Space

  • 24 Feb 2021
  • redpath
  • 2020
Current Working Arrangements

Most facilities and workplace teams are still physically on site or providing skeleton support, with the majority of business staff operating from home. Exceptions to this are technology dependent staff, essential support staff and vulnerable staff. It is even more important now to understand and support vulnerable staff members.

Working from home has meant lots more use of video calls (vc), including virtual clear outs for office moves. Video software has been utilised across the board, most not having used these platforms before. Also, access to carparks has been provided to staff who must travel to site.

We have received feedback of improved collaboration with overseas colleagues due to more regular, scheduled calls/vc and working with a more diverse amount of people in our organisations. In comparison it was felt there was generally less communication with local colleagues. Tip: if feeling overwhelmed with vc for the day, upload a corporate photo and shut off the video for a time.

Return to Office Strategies

Businesses are looking at making a phased return/re-entry to office space for essential and vulnerable workers starting in the next 4 weeks. Then looking to make a larger return by August, which on the whole is not being reviewed for all staff, instead up to about 65% capacity.

Some groups are looking to introduce an ambassador who will assist with the onboarding process into the changed working environment, for example checking the number of staff using a meeting room at one time and sanitizing hands on entry to the office.

Approaches to the re-entry process are varying dependent on campus to commercial tower property arrangements. One of the most challenging areas is managing entry to sites and lifts; 2-4 persons in a lift at one time with an entry and exit time to the property.

Allocated teams/booking systems will continue for the foreseeable to manage the number of people within the office at one time and allow for appropriate social distancing and cleaning regimes. Workplace teams are removing furniture as a way to manage the number of people who should be using meeting rooms at one time.

Future Workplace and Working Trends

Organisations are taking this opportunity to gather information about how their staff are finding working from home, their productivity, and thoughts on returning to the office space through short surveys. Most have reported excellent return rates compared to previous surveys.

Feedback from staff surveys is showing that the majority are not in a rush to return to working from the office and when a full return is in place, they would be looking to work from the office 2-3 days/week.

With new challenges arising and advice changing almost daily, most businesses are taking the time to assess future requirements rather than implement large changes to office fit-out and design now. Some plans for changes include removal of print and mail areas, adapting meeting areas to allow for greater social distancing in collaborative working areas.

There is a large view that office space will be set up primarily for collaborative work and focused working will be completed from home.

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