Workplace Strategy Post-lockdown: Lessons Learnt

11-06-2020

The UK is now in its 12th week of lockdown and it is safe to say it has been one of the biggest periods of change we have experienced in our lives. Whilst there is now some flexibility compared to the start of lockdown, life is not the “normal” as we know it. There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future of socialisation, health, and the workplace. Despite all this ambiguity, employers and employees have shown decisiveness in their ability to adapt to a new way of working in order to keep businesses running. At Office Profile, we are slowly returning onsite whilst following Government recommendations and social distancing.

In our previous two blogs, we covered the various aspects surrounding the role of the workplace and what requirements must be met for everyone to be able to work safely and happily in the future. We have shared recommendations for a workplace strategy including products and services for before and after occupation such as allowing adequate ventilation, providing sanitisation services, and encouraging a one-way flow of traffic. We also examined what the workspace actually means to employees, including statistical evidence explaining how the UK is coping with working from home, how the office can be adapted to accommodate social distancing and speculated on what the office will look like in 2021. Now, it is time to consider what lessons our team have learnt, or indeed are still learning from lockdown, and what it will mean for the future of the workplace.

There is no doubt from our research that having a workplace is important, but since lockdown there is now different expectations as to what it should represent. Employers need to identify the concerns of their workforce, educate, and communicate with their employees to rebuild trust. Mikomax Smart Office’s e-book (2020) assesses the realities of working at an office again, particularly the physical and mental changes that employees will have to adjust to like frequent hand washing and maintaining an appropriate distance between each other. Adapting the behaviour of employees is the hardest but most crucial part. As an employer, you must lead by example, and instil strong values of sanitisation and etiquette and provide clear guidance as to how you plan to reintroduce your staff back to the workplace. Equally, an office needs to be joyful and natural without being too clinical.

Working during lockdown is affecting everyone in different ways. We spoke to members of our team for their insights and to discover what they are looking forward to when we can all safely work together again:

 

As evidenced from our team, a common theme running through all three insights is of course the focus on communication. Being able to see your colleagues, talk to them without the aid of a camera and be physically together and collaborating is something we previously took for granted. Therefore, employers must rethink and adapt the ‘new workplace’ to focus on collaboration, sanitation, flexibility, and the environment because ultimately there is always a need for an office.

Sources:

‘Back to the office – the new reality without an expiry’, 2020, Mikomax smart office, e-book