After a year of remote work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the end is in sight. As the vaccination rollout picks up pace around the globe, companies are divided on how they are going to adapt the workplace in the coming months and years.
While some companies plan to maintain their work-from-home policies, that’s not practical for others. Perhaps surprisingly, 3 in 4 workers want to return to the office when it’s safe to do so, and management in those organizations that plan to get back to the office may face less resistance than they expect.
That said, there are going to be bumps on the road. By answering some of these questions, you make sure that the transition away from remote work goes smoothly.
1) Why Are You Going Back to the Office?
It helps to have good reasons for bringing work back into the office. There are a number of reasons office work can’t be done remotely, such as:
- Data security concerns regarding home access to information, or
- Technology or equipment that can’t be moved into the home.
There are also intangible reasons for going back, such as building teamwork, networking, and sparking a creative environment.
Before you broach the topic of returning to the office, make sure you have sound reasons for the return.
2) How Are You Improving Security?
It’s more important than ever that office space be restricted to just those people who belong there. Some companies will want to (or may be legally required to) continue screening entrants for some time to come.
An ID card system can help facilitate control over movement in and out of the office space. One way that companies can ensure that their office spaces are safe is to release access ID cards daily, only after a temperature check or screening. It’s easy to implement ID cards and security equipment into your COVID-19 protocols to make sure that everyone feels like their well-being is taken seriously.
You may also want to use scheduling tools to control how many people are in the office. While some organizations may want to break the office down into teams who have access to the workplace at set times, others may want to use a public calendar to help limit the number of people at the office at any one time.
3) How Will You Facilitate Social Spaces?
The social element at work is something that people have really missed, and that’s part of what makes the creative atmosphere of the office irreplaceable. Workers hope that their employers will prioritize space for socialization with the return to the office, whether it’s a coffee room or a lounge.
There’s a real appetite in the working world for space that facilitates teamwork, collaboration, and networking. Building connections is one of the best things young professionals can do to advance their careers, and the shift to remote work means they’ve missed out on a lot of those opportunities already.
The move back to the office can boost productivity and creativity, but it will take some getting used to. Get your staff to buy in to the return by boosting security, social spaces, and explaining your reasons for coming back.