Return of the Workplace?
So, it was revealed on Sunday by the government that we are starting to ease the lockdown measures. It was then clarified on Monday that if your workplace is open and you can travel to work by car, bike or by walking, you should return to work. Sounds like things are slowly starting to return to normal, right? But is it the right approach to take?
For England, the hard part surely now falls on business owners and how they can safely bring their employees back into the workplace. One measure that keeps getting talked about is a rota scheme. Which may be the best approach given the circumstances. Certain employees will come into the office on certain days and as much as they can, abide by the 2m rule. Although depending on where and how you work, this may be easier said than done.
For the creative industry, I can’t see this being too much of an issue. I get the feeling we’ve all become quite accustomed to working from home and the new ways of working and communicating with colleagues. Even for teams, like Cefar, who structure themselves on a collaborative approach to their work, there’s still the option to get involved with brainstorms and communicate with other departments via our good old friend, the video call. And although it might not be the same as actually being in the room, it won’t be forever.
Software like Microsoft Teams, TeamViewer & Skype are helping millions of people every day to work from home. It’s becoming easier and easier to sit downstairs, open a laptop and start connecting to an office server. Communicating with your colleagues has never been easier. We’re now all familiar with apps like Zoom (we’ve all seen the boss who turned themselves into a potato) and Hangouts which have massive video and chat capabilities.
However, for other industries, this could be an issue. Every company operates differently. There’s a lot of people who don’t actually work in an office and their day-to-day job involves being in close proximity of their colleagues. Some rely on customer interaction and face to face meetings, others may have clients/customers that don’t want to video call or talk online about certain issues. It’s going to take a while to get back to how we used to work. But even so, I believe there could be some positives to these new ways of working. Granted, not everyone likes change and just want to go back to how they used to work. But for others, this could provide a change that we’ve been longing for.
For example, office workers who are put on a rota system will be spending 2/3 days in the office and the rest of the week at home. I know we’ve all spent the last 6 or so weeks at home and most of us can’t wait to be back in an office or work environment but it’s not all bad. Personally, I think of the money I’ve saved commuting to and from work, the amount of time I’ve been able to spend with my daughter and just more time to relax. The time I would have spent commuting, I can now use to do other things. I don’t actually mind the idea of working from home for 3 days and going into the office for 2. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer working in an office but I also understand the need to work from home too. And as long as I can get the job done quickly, safely and efficiently, then why not.
Another obvious benefit is that with a reduced number of people in the office, the risk of passing the infection is greatly reduced. The last thing we need is a second wave. If everyone takes the necessary precautions and abides by the set rules, then I don’t see why we can’t begin to start phasing more and more people into workplaces in due course. At the end of the day, it’s going to take time. It would be crazy to allow everyone to go back to work and pick up exactly where we left off. All we can do for the time being is follow the guidance set out by the government and employers and stick to the required measures. I’ve got no doubts that one step at a time, we’ll get through this and come out stronger than before.
Whatever the latest guidance means for your industry or workplace, remember to stay safe. (I would say stay alert, but no one really knows what that means do they?)