How to Reassure Worried Employees That it is Safe to Return to Work
With the latest news that lockdown restrictions will be eased significantly on July 4th, BBC News has reported that many employees are anxious about returning to work. Businesses need to do all they can to prove that workplaces are as safe as possible and have been redesigned to protect workers against the outbreak. To guide organisations through this journey, workplace experts, Steelcase, have tapped into their network of leading organisations and experts to offer strategies on how to create a post-Covid workplace. This comes in three different stages, each of which is essential to the safety and engagement on returning employees:
- Now: Workplaces will need to retrofit offices to adhere to health guidelines and ensure the safety of workers as some start to return. Key approaches include reducing density, changing geometry so that individuals are not sitting face-to-face, and providing visual cues to indicate appropriate distances between employees.
- Near: When businesses begin to ramp up, they will be looking to bring 75-100% of their employees back to the office. In order to accommodate this along with distancing guidelines, workplaces will start to design for disinfecting, choosing easy-to-clean surfaces and fabrics, adopt flexible furniture and power that can be easily reconfigured, and introduce standing meetings that can take place in open areas.
- Far: In the more distant future, there will be a continued urgency to not simply return to where we were. Instead, businesses may adopt increasingly adaptable designs, allowing work areas to accommodate increased or decreased distancing, more hands-free solutions, and the integration of enhanced virtual experiences to facilitate connection across distances.