Preparing To Return To Your Workplace

Many businesses are facing the reality of returning to work in a hybrid model, where the home office is a clear extension of the traditional premises. As the current situation could change rapidly as a result of the Government's advice, having a well developed plan will ensure that you are ready to react to whatever circumstances confront us in the next few months.

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown many businesses into turmoil and affected everyone’s daily lives too. Everything seems uncertain, and many people feel that official advice from the Government isn’t as clear as it could be. Our homes have become the centre of our lives even more than they usually are, with infrequent trips to the shops and daily exercise our only outlets. Even those who are still going to work need to restrict the rest of their movements as much as they can. No one really knows when this will all end, but we do know that there will be a slow transition back to “normal” life. While things are ever-changing, it’s smart for businesses to make a plan and prepare for their staff to get back to work. Many businesses are facing the reality of returning to work in a hybrid model, where the home office is a clear extension of the traditional premises.

Coronavirus workplace
Woman working from home using laptop computer while reading text message on mobile phone Credit: Getty

Plan ahead

Being well-prepared will put you in a better position to get everyone back to work. If you were slow to react to the initial lockdown, you likely struggled to get everything together at the last minute. As things continue to change and we wait for major updates, it’s best to have a plan ready to go if you want to make it easier to safely get your staff back into the office.

Assess the Impact So Far

Before you make a plan for getting everyone back to work, it’s sensible to assess the impact that the lockdown has had on your business. There are likely to be both positive and negative things to look at. Perhaps there are some things you would like to have done differently, and others that worked out well. Begin by making a list of the changes you made and what has and hasn’t worked. You should look at your staff, your equipment and how you can save money during these uncertain times.

Managing Your People

The current measures will be updated in stages to slowly ease the lockdown. The current advice is that those who cannot work from home should return to work, although avoid public transport, which still leaves many people working from home. When those working from home do start to return to work, it won’t necessarily be the case that all of your staff will return at once. Some of your employees might need to stay home longer due to being at higher risk of contracting Covid-19 or living with someone who is. You might also have had to make the difficult choice of letting some of your team go.

When it’s time to start bringing people back to work, it probably won’t look exactly like it used to. Some businesses might have found that having people working from home works out for them, allowing them to be more flexible and even save money. When you’re looking at how to execute a phased return to work, consider bringing in critical roles and those who have been having difficulty working remotely first. Those who have worked well from home might even want to consider working remotely long-term.

Your Business Equipment

If your employees have never worked from home before, the transition to remote working might have been a slightly tricky one, unless you took the time to prepare. Your staff needs to have the right devices, applications, and access to your network and any files that they need to do their jobs. Now is a good time to look at what has worked in terms of your IT and data management and what might need to be changed. If you’re planning on having some of your team work remotely on a more regular basis once the lockdown is over, what might you do differently? You need to consider issues such as how to keep company devices and equipment safe and how to return items to the workplace. Do you have everything that’s needed for people to work from home, even when you have people in the office too?

Your IT service provider will help with these issues, and can also help you to ensure your business data remains secure. During the lockdown, you have had to allow access to your data from people’s homes and now need to bring it back into your workplace. Maintaining security during this time is vital, and both you and your staff play a role. When you’re working on getting everything back to normal, it’s a great time to check how you’ve performed so far and whether you need to make any changes going forwards.

How to Save

This situation has hit many businesses financially, even with the help that is available. With the economy feeling the effects, all businesses are having to rethink some things in order to survive. There are ways to save money during this period, both while your staff is still at home and when you start to bring them back to the office. However, it’s also important to think about where your money should go. It’s still important to invest in your IT, especially when it comes to maintaining security when people are working at home.

For some businesses, having your people work from home may have worked out quite well. If it’s something that you’re comfortable doing for longer, it could be an opportunity to save money. Fewer people coming into the office every day might mean that you are able to downsize your premises. You might also be able to identify other areas where it’s possible to save by doing things differently. If online meetings have worked out for you so far, they could be a permanent thing in the future.

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