Modern workspaces were not designed for social distancing. Despite that, the two-meters-away rule will play a big part in changeover from quarantine to office routine. How to prepare for the upcoming transition?
It is still early to unwind the lockdown restrictions, but the world has started to think about it. Last week, the Government of Spain issued their first recommendations for getting back to business, highlighting the importance of protective equipment and distance to be kept between people. As a general trend, balancing the best cleanliness and social distancing practices will need to be addressed by all employers, aiming at ensuring a safe return.
Make it a gradual process
Re-populating the office should be a gradual, one step at a time process. From the business point of view, you may consider which positions would bring the most benefit by returning on-site first. However, if you can avoid such calculations, allow your employees to decide about the right moment within a given time frame. It will not only help limit the flow of people, but will also grow your business in terms of employee satisfaction and social responsibility.
Reduce shared spaces
It’s not a good time to foster free desk policy. Designate formerly shared desks to employees, so that everyone has their personal working area. Encourage keeping it uncluttered, to simplify the daily cleaning process. To space people further apart, define optimal capacities of all shared facilities, such as halls, meeting rooms, canteens. Bringing down a few chairs and tables might work, but a meeting room booking solution can do wonders in putting capacity limitations in place and keeping track of the assigned workplaces.
Keep your assets clean
Creating a safe and clean work environment will go beyond distributing sanitary wipes and disinfectant liquid in the office. Turn your attention to shared assets - laptops, headsets, speakers, remotes. Normally, these devices are touched by numerous people, and should be disinfected between uses. To make it easier for you, tools like YAROOMS offer a services request feature. When booking a room or other workspace, you can specify what equipment is needed there and how it should be prepared (cleaned).
Cut down contact with surfaces
Hands-free tools, sensor doors, and voice-activated elevators can sound far fetched, but in the near future, it will slowly get incorporated to the new office vision. Worries about health and safety will make us find ways to reduce physical contact with various surfaces. Such encounters can also get minimized by transferring the function of the surface to employees’ mobile devices. For example, this would work with access cards or locks. Depending on your financial situation and creativity, thinking about investment in smarter office technology is worth a shot.
In the near future, employers will be making decisions, compromising the image of the office as we know it: open, buzzing, and flexible. This experience will not only be teaching us new working techniques, but will also grow our appreciation of the workplace and interactions in it.