Although leaving our comfortable Work From Home set-ups seems like a long way off yet, as June sees the gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions it is important for employers to begin to think about how offices will be able to safely re-open in a post-pandemic UK.
With the prospect of a vaccine for Covid-19 remaining far on the horizon, ensuring the office space is safe for all employees will involve more than just a few quick fixes.
Fundamental aspects of modern workplaces will have to change drastically if workers are to return safely.
For many, leaving the security of their home office to work amongst others again will be a daunting prospect. It is absolutely vital that employers do everything they can to gain the confidence of their employees and demonstrate that they are proactively protecting their health.
Firstly, It is key that offices have a regimented cleaning procedure, and that all employees follow strict guidelines for personal, and communal, cleanliness.
A thorough deep-clean should take place before any workers can return to the office.
Remora will be carrying out professional deep-cleans of offices before they are recommissioned, and are offering discounted rates if these are done as a part of a regular cleaning contract.
To book Remora for a deep-clean of your office space and to discuss future cleaning contracts please contact us directly, and for more information visit the Commercial Cleaning section of our website.
After the initial deep-clean has taken place, offices should be cleaned every day, including shared equipment like printers and fridges. Furthermore, employers should consider investing in easy-to-clean furniture; anything you can do to make the job of the cleaners easier and more efficient will benefit the health of all.
In order to maintain the cleanliness of the office day-to-day, employers should take steps to limit the surfaces employees need to touch with their hands. This can be done with handle-free doors that can open with a push from your foot or shoulder, and motion sensor light-bulbs and bathroom features such as taps and hand-dryers.
Secondly, businesses should consider investing in personal laptops, phones and keyboards for employees so that they are not sharing between them, as well as bluetooth technology to use during conference calls so that employees have no need to touch the speaker or a shared phone.
Having commutable technology will also make it easier for employees to work from home should they need to.
In terms of managing the design of the office itself, to begin with we will most likely see the introduction of a staggered workforce, with smaller groups coming in on alternate days an shifts that avoid public transport rush hours.
Experts have suggested that the wake of the pandemic will herald a turn away from the previously celebrated open-plan design and a return to smaller, private offices.
The two-metre rule will remain in place wherever possible and ‘Sneeze Guards’ (a simple and cheap plastic screen to shield germs) could be put in place between workers, and ‘Huddle Rooms’, previously used for meetings and collaborative work, could be used as individual offices.
As always, regular and thorough hand-washing is the simplest way for all to protect themselves and others around them. Hand-Sanitiser and soap should be always be readily available in any office space.
For more information on the future of safe office-working we recommend this BBC article
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