We’re two months into the UK lockdown with some of us working ten to dozen, some feeling lonely, and others are simply unsure how to make use of this extra time at home. For all of us though, we’re united in the hope that we will overcome the challenges that Covid-19 throws us. We’re focusing on forward planning to, not only prepare to get back to a bit of normality, but to develop ways to future proof the workplace for the safety of our employees, now, when we return to work, and if ever there’s another wave of the virus.
But where do we begin to prepare for the unknown? Here are some of the things you could consider.
1. We’ve had more time to think, consider, and re-consider
Employees have had a lot of time to think about what they want to do with their career choice and their lives. Many will have been connecting with their local community, getting to know their neighbours, considering the normalised commute. Market conditions may not make it possible for employees to make immediate career changes but that doesn’t result in an engaged employee. They could have completely reverted from their attitudes towards working pre-covid.
2. We’re no longer accustomed to gathering with people we don’t know
The workplace culture has been absent for some time. For many human interaction and being part of an employee community are vital for job satisfaction. Others have spent more time with their family so creating flexible workspace, that includes teams, may become a great challenge, inside and outside of work.
3. Working from home attitudes flipped from desirable to detached
Pre-covid, working from home was seen as a benefit. For some, the ‘home’ during lockdown has become a prison and an office. When people are allowed back into an office environment the shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, gyms and normal facilities will be open and working from home, without the cost and stress of a commute will be attractive again.
4. Physical space and personal space has a new importance
We’ve been told to keep 2 metres apart from people outside of our household at all times. How will you enable social distancing at work? Introduce shift patterns? Take on extra space? Or enforce home working?
5. We’re more conscious of our environment and our own safety
With the media showing us reports and graphs of shocking numbers of people being affected by the virus, there’s a chance that employees could panic when it’s harder to control their space. How will you manage employees who don’t feel safe commuting or working in an office environment?
6. Furloughed employees could have lost your trust
Furlough was never before a part of UK laws and now it’s governed many peoples lives, changed their daily habits completely and they’re probably still in shock how quickly their livelihood was impacted, losing support from their job. How will you reintroduce furloughed workers back into the business?
7. Overseas employees have been left stranded with uncertainty
As people have fought to go home to their hometowns or countries, we’re not sure how easy it will be to travel back to their place of work. How many of you non UK citizen employees returned to their homeland? Will they be returning, can they return?
8. Work equipment and necessities have changed
Working from home has meant some sectors have had to set up new IT infrastructures. What investment will you need to make in technology to enable a variety of working patterns and practices more long term?
9. Management guidance must adapt and support like never before
How are you helping your managers adapt to managing dispersed teams when not all your employees can be in the same room or feel comfortable doing certain tasks? They’ll be looking to you to support their transition back to a safe workplace.
10. What if’s for future pandemic crisis plans
What are you plans for a 2nd spike and lockdown? What will you do differently? While we didn’t see this pandemic coming, we have all made huge learnings that we never before had.
For employers, the Covid crisis creates extremely challenging conditions. Generating revenue streams in declining markets, cutting costs to remain viable, pivoting products and services to match the current and future market, managing a remote workforce, communicating with furloughed employees, managing redundancy programs, planning workspace and social distancing requirements and communicating with stakeholders are just a few of the major challenges faced.
No one has a crystal ball so any insight of what tomorrow may look like is essential. Thank you if you participated in and sharing your thinking in our post covid workplace trend survey, our report is now available to download!
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