Re-opening Offices in 2022
It’s been 2 years since COVID hit the world and with that came situations where we had to adjust our way of thinking and working.
Companies made unprecedented changes to incorporate norms like social distancing. On the other hand, most employees remained at home to avoid crowded commutes. Due to the pandemic, many companies had to close their doors which led to a surge in unemployment rates.
Although the conventional way of working calls for the congregation at "workspaces", COVID transformed that notion. However, with things going back to normal, are we stepping back into the 2019 work culture? We believe not. Companies are now focused on creating a safe working environment for their employees.
Let's take a look at what reopening offices means for employees and companies alike.
1. Evaluate and Decide
With the introduction of remote work culture, employees decided where they wanted to work from. Amidst the pandemic, companies are educating themselves and staff for moulding work patterns with an amicable middle ground.
About 17% of companies reported a decreasing number of workers allowed on-site at a time. (1) With new COVID variants, companies have started considering a Hybrid setup keeping employees' willingness in mind. It focuses on flexibility between work-life balance while ensuring employee retention.
2. Communicate Health and Safety Measures
After the pandemic, many workspaces are designed to follow COVID protocols with regular sanitisation in place. The pandemic has created a need of having psychologically safe workspaces to reduce anxiousness among the employees.
Furthermore, companies are arranging vaccination drives for their employees. Few companies also started having an on-call doctor as an extra measure.
3. Make Space for Questions and Concerns
Re-entering an office space post lockdown might feel uneasy as it is inevitable yet temporary. Companies today need to be focused on mental healthcare for the employees.
With the pandemic, leaders are required to become more frequent in communicating with their employees. Many concerns might come up about the COVID protocols and companies need to have a transparent work culture to address concerns.
4. Consider the Statistics
Statistics are a huge part of any business decision and the pandemic has compelled companies to reassess their policies. About 82% of employees admitted that they prefer working from home rather than going back to the office. (2) Some employees might still wish to commute to the office every day.
About 82% of employees are willing to share improvement ideas for the company, with over a third of them not feeling heard by their employers. (3) This has led to incorporating new guidelines to understand employee inputs for smooth functioning.
COVID has delayed plans of re-opening offices many times but not this time. Re-opening office spaces is a remarkable chance to reconnect with team members and articulate new office values. Companies need to figure out ways to manage the workforce, even with continuous virus outbreaks.