Few events have impacted the workplace as much as the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies moved their operations out of the office, while others introduced measures to protect their workers’ safety.
While many of these measures are likely to disappear after the pandemic is over, some may become permanent fixtures. Here are some predictions for the future.
The commercial environment – short-term fixes
Many of the safety precautions being used at the moment are temporary, and won’t be required once the population is vaccinated. These include measures such as:
- Temperature checkpoints at the entrance
- Screens between desks
- The provision of food and drinks at desk (e.g. a concierge service), to limit staff movement around the office
Some other ‘reactive’ measures may remain in place a little longer. For example, several companies encouraged their employees to avoid public transport, by offering additional space to store their bicycles, or building extra showers for those who chose to cycle or run to work. In this instance, not only is exposure to COVID reduced, but health is also promoted – which is something employers may choose to continue with in the future.
What’s likely to remain once the pandemic is over?
Lockdown has forced many employees to work from home, or to limit the amount of time they spend in the office. As such, desk-booking systems have experienced a surge in popularity – as they enable staff to easily book a desk when they need it.
This technology is nothing new. Remote working was on the rise before COVID arrived in the UK, and many employees were already dividing their work hours between the office and home. However, lockdown has demonstrated that flexible working can be effective, and experts predict that numbers of companies will increasingly implement desk-booking apps in the future.
Safety and sustainability
Many commercial landlords and businesses have had to review their safety practices in the office, and have introduced measures to reduce risk of viral transmission. Examples include improving air quality, encouraging employees to keep windows open to boost air circulation in the workplace, and introducing additional hygiene measures.
While the hand sanitisers and face masks are likely to be dropped as soon as mass vaccination takes place, other measures may remain. For example, having air quality accreditation enhances a company’s brand, and also improves staff well-being.
Awareness in the evolving workplace
COVID has been challenging for most businesses in the UK. Companies and commercial landlords have been forced to adapt their offices swiftly, to ensure the safety of both staff and tenants.
This process can be viewed as an evolution, as much as a reactionary process. While some of the changes will no longer be necessary once the pandemic is over, others may actually improve conditions in the workplace; which in turn, boosts staff morale and brand image. Although it’s been a stressful time for businesses, some of these ‘COVID measures’ may prove to be beneficial in the long run.