How Your Company Can Help You Safely Return To The Office
Are you ready to get back to normal after a year of working remotely? You may be asking yourself, “When can I go back to work after COVID?” This transition is not as simple as going back to the office after a long vacation. There are steps your company has to take to help you safely return to the office. At the same time, there are considerations you have to make about personal safety in the times of COVID.
That’s why employee-generated Return to Work Strategies are so important. When your manager involves you in workplace strategy decisions, it shows that you’re valued and that your opinion will be considered in the ultimate decision. Especially following the pandemic, there are many factors that businesses and employees alike have to consider.
Going Back to Work After COVID Helps Productivity
According to a recent PWC study, employees who report decreased productivity when working remotely are more likely to envision being in the office earlier. That same study found that 55% of people who weren’t productive remotely, are already back in the office or say they expect to spend at least half of their time in the office by April 2021.
In addition to productivity increasing in the office, collaboration and creativity are also integral to the workplace. Our Design Principle, Jeremy Drummond, RA, LEED BD+C was recently interviewed by Philadelphia Business Journal about his thoughts on working remotely in a creative industry during the early days of the pandemic.
He said, “It gave me hope in the human spirit that we have kept things moving but being in a creative industry, I realized ultimately creativity was suffering. It was difficult and a challenge to collaborate and create virtually.”
For more on why productivity, collaboration and creativity increase in the workplace, read our blog post about it.
Employee-Generated Return to Work Strategies
By now, your manager or HR should have had one or more conversations about the timing and perimeters for returning to the office. After all, the decision to return to the office affects many people.
These conversations are critical for helping you safely return to the office. Understand what the office will look like, how you’ll be able to safely distance yourself from employees, what your company’s take on vaccines will be, and more.
Formcraft has put a lot of thought into data-driven, informed workplace strategies for a post-COVID world. That’s why they developed WorkforceDiagnostics™. When companies take part in the 6-week diagnostic program, they will build Return to Work Strategies that will make employees feel more confident about returning to work.
Steps Your Company Can Take to Make You Feel Safe in the Office
In addition to taking part in an employee-generated Return to Work Strategy, your employer can follow CDC guidelines for a safe return. Here are a few ways your company can make you feel safe, according to the CDC.
- Encourage employees to follow any new policies or procedures related to illness, cleaning and disinfecting, and work meetings and travel.
- Advise employees to stay home if they are sick, except to get medical care, and to learn what to do if they are sick.
- Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. Clean and disinfect them before and after use.
- Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (at least 6 feet) from others when possible.
How Your Office Design Can Enable a Safe Return
Another thing your company can do to help you safely return to the office is redesigning the workspace to reflect safety protocols. This includes:
- Socially distant desk spacing
- Touchless bathroom fixtures for improved sanitization standards and reduced overhead utilities expenses
- Improved air quality and ventilation
- Added natural light
- Mobile workstations to help employees work in the office and remain socially distanced
- Adding outdoor working areas
When Can You Go Back to Work After COVID?
To answer this question, take a look at productivity, creativity, and collaboration. If your company thrives when individuals brainstorm and create together, a safe return to the workspace should be considered. But before jumping back into “business as usual” your company has to ensure you feel safe by following CDC guidelines, crafting employee-generated Return to Work Strategies, and redesigning the office to reflect safety protocols.
Formcraft’s WorkforceDiagnostics™ can provide guidance and data in just six weeks. It’s the informed assessment leaders need to make decisions about how and when to safely return to the office.
To learn more about WorkforceDiagnostics™, sign up for an assessment today.