The recent announcement by the government that the ‘plan B’ measures instigated to mitigate the Omicron strain would be lifted means that the call “back to the office” has gone out again. According to the London Evening Standard, the first day of ‘normality’ saw trains “rammed” as they carried commuters into the capital.
However, while some people will be very happy to get back on the train and back into a town or city centre to see colleagues face-to-face again, others might be wary, either because they know they are more clinically vulnerable or they are apprehensive about going back.
This is where commercial office design may have a role to play, because your configuration and accessories may help reduce the opportunities for the virus to spread in your workplace, for instance by having wider spaces between desks that permit social distancing.
However, it is also important to consider more mundane, but important, safety matters. The HR Director has published recommendations on how to do this, provided by Olivia Wigg from the Compensation Experts.
She said anyone with staff returning should check the office to make sure the office is tidy and all equipment set up properly. Safety training can inform (or remind) staff of issues to look out for such as trip hazards or fire risks, as well as informing them on what to do if they spot an issue.
Opinions about the value of returning to offices vary. Speaking to the BBC, chief executive of City Pub Group Clive Watson said the “culture” of the office helps career development in a way that working from home does not.
The same report, however, included contrary views expressed by individuals who now prefer home working, not just because of Covid, but due to the lifestyle benefits it brings.
All this shows that where it is optional, some may be very reluctant to return to the office. That is why providing an attractive, compelling and safe working environment will be critical to helping your firm achieve a successful transition back to office life.