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The Mid-Pandemic Office
The coronavirus pandemic is still looming and we are all still getting used to a new way of life. However, as time passes by restrictions are slowly being lifted and we are all looking forward to getting back to life as it used to be.
After months of working from home, many businesses can now get their employees back into the workplace. Be that as it may, as many businesses consider inviting employees back to work, it is likely that offices will look pretty different from how they did before.
Before the world was forced into lockdown, the daily commute to the workplace and working in an office full of other people were all part of working life. However, recent life has compelled us to change our habits with many of us now used to working from home and becoming well versed in video conferencing and virtual meetings. This means that, for some, getting back into the old way of life may be a bit of a challenge.
Repurposing the Office Space
Offices have always been a space to collaborate, a hub of social interaction. They are buzzy environments with plenty of chatting, brainstorming and tea breaks; a place where employees can come together and work on ideas. But as we start to welcome our employees back to the office, we must realise that the purpose of the office may have to change.
Rather than a space for collaboration, we will likely find that the office is viewed more as a quiet place to concentrate, a change of scenery or a place to attend essential meetings that wouldn’t be effective if carried out remotely.
As employers, we have a duty to ensure that our staff are safe. Furthermore, if employees don’t feel safe, they will not be comfortable and, if they are not comfortable, they will not be productive. Therefore, safety must be a top priority for any business planning on reopening the office.
Basic hygiene practices must be enforced, and we must provide suitable hygiene facilities such as:
- Handwashing facilities with running water, soap and paper towels
- Hand sanitiser at locations in addition to washrooms
- Hand sanitiser for people getting in and out of vehicles or handling deliveries, if they are unable to wash their hands.
We must also increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting, paying particular attention to touchpoints.
With social distancing still a requirement, employers also must think about ways to keep co-workers apart.
This may include doing things such as:
- Using floor tape or paint to mark work areas
- Providing signage to remind people to keep a 2-metre distance
- Using screens to create a physical barrier between people
- Creating work stations for people to work side-by-side rather than face-to-face
- Only allowing essential trips within buildings and between sites
Staggered start and finish times can also help to keep employees apart from each other.
While PPE for protection against coronavirus is generally only required for certain healthcare activities they can be beneficial as a precautionary measure against coronavirus. If it is difficult to ensure safe social distancing measures, or if you want to give your staff extra peace of mind, then providing face masks may be a good idea.
We’ve Got You Covered
Whether you plan to bring all, some or just a few of your staff back to the office, jumping right back to how it used to be before the pandemic won’t be an option. Businesses will need to ensure they provide a “COVID-Secure” working environment for their employees and keep them as safe as possible.
Global Office Supplies have everything you need to promote good hygiene practices in your workplace and help keep COVID-secure.
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