The Post-COVID Office Landscape: Setting Up a Safe Workspace
The pandemic brought about drastic changes to the work that we do. Suddenly, everything had to be done remotely. Everyone needed to stay home to keep themselves safe from the threat of catching the virus. It was quite an adjustment, but eventually, we got used to it. We managed to do our jobs in the comfort of our homes and still come up with good results, if not better. We all realized that a home workplace wasn’t so bad after all.
With the development of vaccines and easing of quarantine restrictions, the post-COVID office landscape becomes a pressing concern to everyone. Implementing a hybrid workplace seems to be the best option, but doing so will be pretty challenging.
Before you get your team back to the office, you need to have a solid plan to make this new arrangement work. With that said, here are five things to consider when setting up a safe workspace.
Workplace Safety Procedures
Everyone’s safety will naturally be the first thing on your mind. You need to take the necessary steps to ensure that the workplace is safe for you and your team. For in-office health, devise a plan that gives each workspace enough room and create a system that prevents overcrowding. Schedule who can come to the office at different times of the day, run periodical health check-ups on your team, and hold meetings through video calls. Present this plan to your team before you implement it. That way, they would be aware of the changes they need to consider, and you could take suggestions from them, too.
One of the most significant issues in implementing a hybrid workplace would be scheduling. Remote work is already challenging as it is, and creating a schedule for work in the hybrid setting could overburden your team, too, especially if they have to switch from the office to their home computers frequently. This could prove to be distracting and even unmotivating. Giving your team the freedom to create their schedule is the perfect choice for this situation.
Everyone needs human interaction, and this is probably something that your team looks forward to, especially those who still find it hard to adjust to remote work. One can find it hard to focus at home. Again, having one schedule for everyone simply won’t work, so it makes sense to provide them with a flexible choice, even on a rotational basis.
The best way to determine what your team needs is to talk to them— every single one of them. You could use anonymous employee feedback surveys or polls, especially for sensitive issues they wouldn’t like to disclose in a conventional team meeting.
Working remotely highlighted the importance of employee feedback. Before, most changes in the workplace depended on those who were in leadership roles. Now, managers gained much relevant insight from employees they otherwise would be unaware of if they didn’t talk to them.
Making drastic changes to the workplace without consulting your team could result in disastrous consequences. Deciding to bring them all in the office at once puts them at risk of getting sick. Demanding strict office hour attendance could push them away from you, making them turn to their employers. The adjustment to the hybrid workplace system requires consideration for both the work that needs to be done and the employees that do them.
Discussing everything with your team eliminates these problems. Concerns, schedules, team collaboration, tools needed, work processes, and any other aspect that affects everyone should be free to discuss on the table before they return to the office.
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Prepare for New Restrictions
You may think that your plan is impeccable, but you would still have to make room for new restrictions. With that said, the work you need to be done should still be doable whether your team works at home or the office. Keep your plan in mind and have a list of guidelines for in-office work, but remember that remote work is a viable option that actually helped attain your company’s goals.
Be Honest and Trustworthy
Now more than ever, employees value honesty and trust. Employees will appreciate it if you tell them beforehand that a new feature you are trying out might not be desirable to everyone, for example. If you need to do some cost-cutting, especially during the low sales season, give them a heads up. They need to know about these things because it affects them just as much as it affects you.
Adjusting to the post-COVID office landscape will probably not be as drastic or as stressful as the sudden shift to remote work if done right. So long as you carefully consider and apply these tips, you’re off to a good start. Here’s to the return to the workplace!
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