This week we are all waiting for more details around the governments plans to ease the lock down and reinvigorate our economy. Whatever happens, one thing that is sure is that we are all going to have to make changes to our businesses and working lives in order to ease ourselves out of this crisis.
At SORCE, we have been starting to turn our attention to our own return to the office planning, despite the fact that this may still be some weeks (or months) away. I had foolishly assumed that this would be fairly easy for us, as we have plenty of space in our office and don’t really have many visitors compared to lots of other businesses, as we are well geared up to do most of our work remotely.
I then remembered that we share our building with another business, which has a lot less space in their office than we do, and they have several visitors a day to sign paperwork as they are a financial services company. All of a sudden I realised that when I look beyond our own little bubble, things get a lot trickier…
I think the key to returning to work smoothly will be effective communication. There will be a lot of people nervous about leaving the safety of the isolation they have complained about for the last 2 months and suddenly mixing with lots of other potential virus carriers again (colleagues).
People will need reassuring of the changes to all sorts of things that we have probably never even considered before, in order for them to be happy to return to the office. In no particular order, that could include the one way system around the office, the regularity of cleaning, the visitor and delivery arrangements (remember when you used to see hundreds of Amazon parcels delivered to the office each day?!), the changes to working patterns to enable social distancing, the building entrance and exit procedures, the risk assessments to key business processes, the queueing system for the toilets, the tea and coffee facilities, and so the list goes on…
We’ll obviously be making all of that information available to our colleagues in plenty of time for any return to the office. We’ll also however need to share information with the other tenants in our building, so it’s a good thing that our intranet is also an extranet that we can provide them access to.
In reality, the other tenants will probably need as much information as our staff. Plus we will need to know how they are going to safely welcome visitors back into the building. There is an awful lot to think about, so I had better stop musing now, remove myself from my isolation bubble and continue planning.