As many nations consider making a cautious return to work after Covid-19 restrictions, thoughts turn to how aspects of the modern office will change if we are to safely go back. In the absence of a vaccine, workplaces will have to change for the foreseeable future if employees are to return.
Conversely, many people across the world have experienced a ‘working from home epiphany’ as a result of a widely positive experience, explored in this Financial Times article.
As we turn to technology to solve some of the issues that working remotely causes, physical changes to the office environment will be needed to make hygiene a priority. Before making changes to your office post Covid-19, consider whether the benefits of returning to the office outweigh the negatives.
Paperwork must still be done and shouldn’t be forgotten when making changes to the office. To reduce the spread of the virus it is suggested that physical contact should be limited and that includes the exchange of paperwork and office items.
Whilst much of the world feels like it has ground to halt, this essential business paperwork must still continue. For some businesses looking to fully digitise their services, systems will be needed to reduce the number of people required in the office.
For example, tax forms are still required to be completed and to ensure that businesses are complying with tax regulations. You can find online, IRS approved, downloadable tax forms which can make this process extremely easy.
Not only does this save time but the automated process available means that paperwork can be completed remotely if necessary. Having this side of admin available in a digital format, means that the need for person to person contact is reduced.
It’s indicative of a wider point - before you make any changes to your office post Covid-19, think about how you can digitise and streamline some processes. You might find that this is actually the catalyst you need to do things smarter.
Keeping your employees healthy and able to maintain a safe distance should be at the forefront of your thinking when making changes to your office as a result of the pandemic. Determining a maximum capacity for the office to ensure that workers can maintain social distancing will be required and may need an office assessment by professionals. Specific companies are available to provide this risk assessment service.
Providing hand sanitiser and hand washing facilities throughout the office is incredibly important so that virus transmission can be kept to a minimum. Increased cleaning measures throughout your office facilities will also be required. There are numerous resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that provide advice for the organisation and logistics of opening office buildings.
Above all, it is crucial that advice from the local authorities is considered before you make changes to your office before returning to work post Covid-19. Rules and regulations differ from state to state therefore you must check you comply with your area’s advice.
However, before returning to work it is important to consider whether being in a physical office is essential to your business. Can this be conducted digitally via Microsoft Teams or even Zoom? Do your employees even want to return to the office? To ensure employee safety and happiness, perhaps a more permanent move to remote working could be beneficial to all.