Posted on 12 Jun 2020
The past few months have been hard… incredibly hard.
With COVID-19 devastating the country, the UK was ordered into lockdown. Businesses rushed to find arrangements for their employees to help them effectively work from home, but now, we need to start turning our thoughts away from the home office.
With restrictions being eased following the release of the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy at the end of May, it’s time to start thinking about a plan for how to get our employees returning to work as smoothly as possible when it is safe to do so.
Whilst a deep clean of the office is an essential and obvious answer, we have put together this basic advice that you can use to prepare your office and your workforce for a return to work.
Does your office layout meet social distancing rules?
Social distancing is going to be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future. As part of bringing employees back into the office, consider the current layout of your office. All staff must be two metres apart so the office may need to be rearranged in order to comply with the rules. In a lot of cases, this may mean that you cannot accommodate the same number of staff in the office as before. If this is the case, then consider a hybrid environment where some employees continue to work remotely or work on a weekly rota to ensure that guidelines can be followed.
You may have discussed putting a more remote working culture at the heart of your business for good. We wrote about that in our blog The Remote Working Revolution.
Are you able to move equipment easily?
Before you start moving equipment, consider the position of power sockets and network ports. In most cases, desks would have been deliberately positioned near to these.
If you are planning to move desks and equipment, check that you have network ports and power sockets available. If this poses a problem, then laptop users can connect to the network over wireless, but you may need to think about getting additional network cabling and ports fitted.
If your employees took any equipment home, you may need to think about getting items such as monitors, printers, and other peripherals returned to the office and set up ready for their return.
Do you have everything in place to maintain communication?
Most businesses, like ours, will adopt a hybrid set up with some people returning to the office while others still work remotely from home. Despite this divide, it’s important to continue using the tools you may have been using for the past few months to ensure continuity of communication.
Communication and collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, will need putting in place for those returning to the office (with webcams and headsets if they don’t have them) to ensure that they can continue to communicate with their isolated counterparts.
Should everyone have their own desk?
If your employees are used to hot-desking, then for the moment, at least, it is advisable that this is avoided and returning employees should have their own dedicated desk – seated at least 2 metres from their nearest co-worker.
Employees should be encouraged to personalise their new workspace to make it as familiar as possible to help them ease back into work.
Is everything up-to-date?
For a while now, your equipment may have been sat at the office gathering dust. After not being used in so long, the updates (and the dust) will have built up.
We would highly recommend that you carry out these updates ahead of employees returning to work so they can run their course and not cause a delay when they are turned on for the first time since lockdown.
This is a vital step in ensuring that the operating system, applications and software receive the necessary updates and patches to protect your business from security flaws that these may fix.
Are you prepared if an employee needs to isolate for the 14-day period?
Aside from the fact that other people who came into contact with that employee may also need to isolate for 14 days, businesses will need to consider additional remote working needs for those who need it during this 14-day period.
Consider having equipment kept up-to-date and ready to go for any employees who have to isolate and work remotely. This will help with your business continuity plans.
Do you need additional support?
Impact Computing is here to help if you need assistance on adapting your workplace for a return to work. We can help you set up remote working solutions quickly and provide you with the tools you need to communicate.
If you require any assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you.