A little more than a year ago, we were flying off for vacations and conferences in different parts of the world. And then COVID-19 happened, everything changed.
To say that we were unprepared is an understatement. With much of the world on lockdown, we scrambled to adjust to the New Normal. We relied heavily on the Internet and other online platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet to maintain some semblance of normalcy at work and at school, among other things.
The number of total confirmed cases has now reached a whooping 172 million. Fortunately, though, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that more than 1.6 billion doses and counting have already been administered.
As a result, more and more companies are considering reopening their offices within the year. However, not everyone is eager to go back. Many of us have already been accustomed to the work from home set-up, among other things.
Let’s take a look as to why lots of people won’t be going back to the status quo if they can help it.
Redefined Comfort Levels
Let’s admit it, we all have individual preferences when it comes to our work set-up. What is effective for you may be distracting for your employees and vice versa.
Despite the skepticism towards remote work, it gives everyone space to set up their ideal office, whatever that looks like. Having to go back to a more rigid, more regulated environment after a year of working in more flexible, relaxed conditions isn’t exactly appealing.
Research from The Conference Board breaks down the numbers. After interviewing 1,100 workers and 330 employers, only 39 percent claimed that they were moderately comfortable about returning. A scant 17 percent were very willing to report back to their physical offices while 31 percent are uncomfortable with the same.
Thus, it would be advisable to conduct a quick survey when deciding whether to reopen the office or not. (Though, if you had a distributed team, this would be a foregone conclusion. *wink*wink*)
Health and Safety Concerns
If you do reopen your office, you would also have to put up several safety measures in place before your workers come back. Many workers are still wary about exposing their family members to the virus, after all.
There are a number of measures you can implement to allay such fears. First, you can purchase safety equipment such as masks, contactless entry devices, thermometers, and sanitation devices. Equipping common areas with sanitisers and alcohol also helps.
When conducting meetings, be sure to implement the proper social distancing policies. For example, you can limit the number of people at in-person meetings and make the rest join virtually. Don’t forget to deep clean and disinfect the conference rooms after every meeting for additional protection.
Lastly, make sure everyone who reports for work is aware of the new safety and sanitary protocols. And most importantly, that they follow them.
Right now, there’s a big chance that many people will opt to work from home permanently. Therefore, it’s critical for business leaders to make the necessary adjustments so that they can still retain their key people.
Also, despite the ongoing debate about whether offices should reopen or not, we can’t deny that remote work is here to stay. Best to be ready when it happens.
Thinking of adapting remote operations and expanding your reach for the best talent when you build a distributed team? Remote Staff has been helping Aussie SMEs and entrepreneurs with doing exactly that for the last 14 years. Whether you’re planning to expand your existing remote teams or are looking for your first virtual assistant, we’ve got your back.