Boris (aka Snow White) has spoken: back to work we go. Whether that’s in the diamond mines with Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy and the rest of the crew or going back to work in an office building, it might not be everyone’s idea of a fairy tale. While it may be a phased return to work premises for most of us and some will continue to work from home for a while, or even permanently, going back to working on site takes a lot of planning.
Organising employees who are returning to work after furlough may mean taking equipment out of storage, while those who have had to work from home may be using boxes for moving files, computers and office paraphernalia around for some time.
Return to the work environment will be stressful for lots of reasons – remembering and resuming old office routines or adopting new processes; missing work colleagues who may have moved on or are unable to return to the office; and dealing with redundancies that have been forced upon your business, can take a while to get used to. And anyone returning to work after COVID symptoms may require additional equipment or special allowances.
Here’s our back to the office checklist to help things go a little smoother:
Communicate – it’s imperative that you notify anyone going back to work in the office of changes in routines, responsibilities or office layout. Clearly inform them of safety procedures, e.g. sanitation precautions, restrictions on hot desking and communal areas, and one-way systems. Issue a checklist for each employee, just as you might do for their induction process.
Be available – there will be lots of questions regarding returning to work after COVID restrictions have been lifted so ensure you are fully informed and have time set aside for staff queries. It’s also a good idea to organise a virtual team meeting prior to the return to work so there are no surprises regarding new procedures and staff are able to share their experiences of their time at home, if so desired.
Be prepared – provide everything that is needed to help your staff get back to the office. This includes the relevant moving boxes and crates that will help to transport work stuff from home or storage. Lidded crates for files, desk paraphernalia or IT equipment can be safely stacked when full and also nested when not in use. phs Teacrate can provide these on a weekly rental basis in a range of sizes from the to the .
Be inclusive – don’t make those who still have to work from home feel left out. We’ll all probably have to continue with virtual meetings for some time. Consider installing video conferencing facilities in meeting rooms and headsets at desks so that all staff, whether they have made a return to work premises or continue to work from home, can be included, with minimum disruption to those who have been able to make the return to a work environment.
Be flexible – everyone who has been employed for over 26 weeks (including those returning to work after furlough) have the right to request flexible working. For some this may mean job share, working from home, part time, flexitime or compressed hours. Going back to the office after COVID has forced us all to readjust our work/life balance, no matter how much we love our jobs.
Be helpful – following 18 months of commute-free work days, the journey to and from the office might feel daunting and expensive for employees heading back to workplaces. Try introducing bike schemes, car sharing or staggered starts that will allow employees to travel outside of peak travel times so they arrive at work refreshed rather than stressed.
Be patient – you and your colleagues have waited a long time to return to the office so you should expect a few bumps as you all settle in. Everyone will have had very different experiences over the last 18 months and some might struggle to get back into the office routine. Be kind!
Don’t be Bashful, get in touch with phs Teacrate to discover how our specialised crates can help you and your staff when returning to work after furlough or working from home feeling Happy, rather than Grumpy, Dopey or Sleepy, and our rental costs won’t make you Sneezy – just what the Doc ordered!