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Right now, many offices around the UK are sitting empty while staff are furloughed or working from home. But in time, the COVID-19 crisis will end and the lockdown situation will be eased and that means people will start, in theory, returning to their places of work.
But things aren’t going to be the same as they were before. Businesses and employees alike will need to adapt to the so-called ‘new normal’ and significantly change the way they work as a result.
Government guidelines* released earlier this month state that hot desking is to be avoided wherever possible. In the case of call centres, training facilities and similar establishments, hot desks will need to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised in between them being occupied by different individuals.
Popping over and putting your arm around your closest colleagues while having a chat will not be allowed once the lockdown has been lifted. Employees will be kept at least two metres apart at all times and could be sticky tape on the floor to outline distances.
If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that many employees can viably and successfully work from home (providing they’ve got the right equipment). As per the government guidelines, working from home should be enabled and encouraged as a first option.
Even if people do venture into the office, face-to-face meetings will likely be banned completely. Any meetings that are held will need to observe the two-metre social distancing guidance and will likely be held outdoors or in well-ventilated rooms. Attendees will be asked to attend virtually wherever possible.
Even before the coronavirus outbreak we’d seen a surge in the popularity of online/virtual/remote training and that’s something that will continue going forward. While in-person training sessions might be preferable, advances in technology mean that nobody should have to miss out. Travel time and costs will also be reduced significantly as a result, which is good for both employer and employee alike.