Safe Ways To Get The World Back To Work
Vaccination against coronavirus began in many countries worldwide, which means that humanity will soon return to everyday life, including working life. Employees and employers can safely return to their offices. Let's talk about how to do it right.
What the research says
No matter how attractive and inexpensive remote work may seem, interaction in a common space helps employees be more productive, creative, and open. People want to return to the office: About one in four employees want to work from home all the time after the pandemic ends.
According to a WeWork poll, 90% want to work in the office at least one day a week. In addition, the office is the safest for employees in terms of the spread of any infections, confirms a study published in the journal Nature.
Employees who gradually return to their offices report significant improvements in mood. According to the brightspot strategy study, the general mood of those who returned to the office for a whole week improved by 54%. The survey was conducted among 600 office workers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Western Europe.
The respondents also assessed the actions of employers when teams return to their offices. If the company did it effectively, people would report a 7% increase in team productivity. For such employees, engagement in corporate culture increased by 12%.
How to successfully return employees to the office
The gradual return of employees to the office on different days of the week; the beginning of the working day at extra hours when meetings and meetings can be held, will ensure the epidemiological safety of the team and allow you to return to the office without stress.
Employees can independently develop a convenient schedule and sequence of work in the office and discuss it with them. Or they can be offered a hybrid format: combining remote work and office work.
- Provide security. Office space needs to be rebuilt following social distancing measures, cleaning more often. Provide staff with masks and sanitizers where necessary. This is a must especially for nurses who have passed the NCLEX RN exam and now have to take care of patients. Distance lines and information posters are also important. According to the same WeWork survey, if a company provides masks and antiseptics in the office, employee engagement and attitude towards the employer improves by 11%.
- Organise work closer to home. According to a survey by the Super job portal, the dream of the average citizen is to spend less than half an hour on the road to work. Still, even during a pandemic, the average public transport journey for residents of large cities is about an hour. It is now more important than ever to avoid public transport and unnecessary contact with people, so the ability to work closer to home in an office or coworking space nearby will help your employees. Many companies are moving to the distributed office model: parts of the teams work in different offices located throughout the city. It is convenient for employees: they work in the location closest to home. Google is shifting to this model: the company has opened several small offices for employees while maintaining the headquarters. Meetings and meetings of top management or all departments can be held weekly at the company headquarters.
- Make the office a hub for communication and collaboration. Working from home negatively impacts teamwork, creativity, and cooperation: According to a WeWork survey, office workers from home have found it more challenging to meet and brainstorm an average of 11%. Interaction between colleagues has decreased on average by 25%, and for employees who work in a team environment - up to 40%. Therefore, the office should become a place adapted for safe team interaction and have rooms for cooperation and communication.
What you need to return employees to the office successfully
- Reimagine the organisation of your workspace after the pandemic depending on how your company will use the office.
- Give your employees flexibility. It can be a flexible working schedule (someone may be more comfortable with a different plan than a typical day from 10 to 19 hours) or flexibility in visiting the office: many may want to work a few days a week in the office and the rest of the time at home.
- Allow employees to work closer to home to avoid long commutes. It may require several offices in different city districts, but this problem can be solved with the help of co-working spaces and flexible office spaces.
- Keep your office safe. Research shows that employer safety concerns (free masks, sanitisers, and increased room cleaning) increase employee loyalty.
- Redevelop your office. It should have more places for collaboration (for example, meeting rooms) and other impossible activities from home. But the routine jobs are now likely to need fewer.
Soon, there will be millions of vaccinated office workers around the world who want to return to their everyday lives. The task of returning large numbers of employees to corporate headquarters following the coronavirus pandemic can look daunting and complex.
But it should be given considerable attention. Employees who feel safe and comfortable thanks to their employer will bring significant dividends to the company.