Recently, the IRS started returning 10,000 employees to do mission-critical work. Unfortunately, for many business leaders, their mission critical work is making money to survive. Truly, it can’t come soon enough. Others fear for the safety of their workers and will proceed very cautiously. Though opinions on timing vary widely, the question remains—is your office ready for the return post COVID-19?
Now that we have adjusted to the WFH routine of conference calls, tuning out distractions and swapping PJ’s for sweats, the time has come to start planning the return to the office.
As with any change in the business environment, there will be costs and opportunities. You may need to adjust work schedules and provide hygiene safety procedures and supplies. But while the office is still empty, take advantage of a rare opportunity to make changes that will permanently improve efficiency, collaboration and revenue generation.
With planning and proactive preparation, the return can be smooth. Yes, uncertainty still reigns. But having a plan will help workers return not only feeling safe, but confident in the future of the organization and working at full speed for customers.
The Office is About to Change
When employees return to the office for work, those spaces may appear quite different. Among the changes planned at some large organizations, plexiglass partitions, one-way walkways, thermal cameras to check temperatures, staggered desks and sectioned-off offices stand out as the most visible to employees.
Worried about safety, some plan to institute health questions and apps to track employee movement and interactions around the office. However, not every company has the resources to drastically reconfigure their office space and people. Those who can, may continue WFH policies to counter the push for over-the-top employee surveillance and morning health checks.
Long-term, WFH will affect the shape of cities, traffic, commercial real estate, and corporate culture. For example, high-rise buildings present real problems for employees trying to maintain social distancing. Just getting people to the 40th floor two or three at a time in the elevators could take much longer.
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