The outbreak of Coronavirus has defined a new normal. From work to commute to leisure, it has reshaped everything in our day-to-day lives. Organizations have had most of their workforce working from home ever since strict lockdowns were enforced across nations. However, with the COVID-19 situation continuously evolving and restrictions around the world easing post strict lockdowns, employers have been mulling things over and devising strategies for the safe return of employees to the physical office space. With some restrictions remaining, organizations not only have to think of working conditions inside the office but also consider the commute that employees undertake daily.
Everybody need not return to the office together at once. The facilities team can come in first to assess the situation and prepare the office premises to ensure social distancing norms. This exercise might involve redesigning something as simple as the lunch queue at the cafeteria to efficiently manage spaces while restructuring seating arrangements.
Restructuring seating will also require moving around a lot of equipment and cables and that is why the IT team needs to coordinate well with the facilities team. The IT team also needs to ensure all the equipment is in working condition after not being used for so long and also properly sanitized.
Staggered timings can be implemented to make sure that there is no crowding at a given time. If daily shifts seem improbable due to the nature of work or employee constraints, a weekly roster can be defined with certain days in office and the rest for remotely working. In either case, sanitization of the workstations or cubicles must be of utmost importance.
Gone are the days where you sat next to your colleague in a crowded team meeting. Team meetings will not be the same in the near future. Large teams need to re-think how best can they have a team meeting while following all precautionary distancing measures. With staggered timing in place, finding a common time for the meeting might also be challenging. If so, options for remotely joining these meetings will help those who are not supposed to come to the office in those hours or that whole day.
The Vulnerable Lot
The sudden onslaught of Coronavirus left organizations with no time to relook at their work from home policies. Some employees are more vulnerable than others. Those at a higher risk of respiratory illnesses or those living with children or the elderly might prefer working from home. For them, work from home guidelines should be formulated or revised, if already existing, to ensure continuity of business.
Employees can contribute to a safer and healthier workplace by wearing masks without fail, washing hands whenever necessary and not reporting to work in case they do not feel well. Taking precautionary measures will not only keep the workplace safe but also their homes. Employees should also regularly self-assess for any COVID-19 symptoms. On symptoms being found, immediate action should be taken so as to not endanger others at home or work.
For us at Tesseract Learning, employees always come first. We switched to remote working as soon as the lockdown was announced and even had a few remote inductions for new hires. We have been providing support to other organizations, using a wide variety of learning solutions, especially microlearning. Performance-based microlearning has proven to be effective for instances where people need step-by-step guidance to perform tasks. Sanitizing before entering or leaving home/office or self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms, to name a few. Getting back to the life we had before the pandemic, seems improbable at least in the near future. This has left us with little to no choice in, but to adapt to the current times.