Prepare Your Team for Post-Pandemic RecoveryMarch 16, 2021
According to the International Labor Organization, an estimated 2.7 billion people worldwide, or more than 4 out of 5 workers in the global workforce, have been affected by lockdown measures. And as COVID continued to spread, employees and leaders alike have been challenged to adjust to new requirements and considerations in the workplace, and to find solutions that ensure both efficiency and safety.
It’s been almost a year into the pandemic with vaccines being gradually rolled out, and most countries have reopened for business, although shyly. However, managers and employees find themselves constantly planning for a potential lockdown ahead, and risk of infection remains ever so present. And with the winter season and holidays only adding to the spread of COVID, businesses must set out a roadmap to recovery in the safest way possible. Therefore, it’s up to business leaders to guide their teams into the reopening and recovery phases, while ensuring that employees’ health and safety needs are addressed.
The pandemic has proven that with digital communication and management tools, working remotely is a perfectly viable solution. Therefore, offering a workspace that ensures safety will not only be crucial to retaining employees and incentivizing them to work from the office, but will also be a main condition to attract new talent. Good and efficient offices are designed around the people filling these spaces, their roles, and professional needs as individuals and teams. And the pandemic highlighted new requirements that are changing how experts envision workspace design for years to come and bringing professional social-distancing innovation to light.
Cushman & Wakefield, a leading real estate services firm, has introduced the concept of the “6 Feet Office”, designed to implement social distancing measures into workspaces to help companies get back to business safely and efficiently. But creating a safe workspace doesn’t necessarily mean your office needs to be completely redone. You can implement measures to encourage employees to act responsibly through a clear set of rules and procedures, such as:
- To enter and leave meeting rooms as indicated.
- To keep desks clean and sanitized.
- Maintaining social distancing during lunch-breaks.
- Reduce risk in contact points such as fingerprint scanners or door handles.
- Posters instructing employees to always walk around your office clockwise.
- Decals instructing them to walk down corridors sticking to one (right or left) side.
Apart from social distancing measures for physical safety, leaders will need to adjust their approach and company culture to employees’ new pandemic-specific concerns to ensure a sense of security. The biggest challenge businesses will face in reopening is the bridge between preparing to return to pre-pandemic routines while also adapting to a new reality. Leaders will need to set a clear strategy that takes into account their team’s professional and human needs, especially in terms of trust, honesty, communication, and a sense of belonging despite social-distancing.