Those of us who are getting back to work know that the pandemic has irrevocably changed the shape of business and how we work. Are the days of 9-5 at the office, the crowded bus commute, or squishing into the elevator last minute obsolete? While “work from home” (WFH) is trending on social media and we’ve enjoyed the hilarity of some Zoom video chats going awry, the future for many people is now the home office. According to McKinsey’s research 80% of people enjoy working from home and even 41% are more productive. While a lot of organisations are welcoming the change it’s also worth wondering the trends that will be shaping the future of our work lives.

Businesses returning aren’t able to go back to as they were and depending on the industry major changes have taken shape. The office space will have distancing guidelines and sanitisers at common touch points. Cafes and restaurants now take contact information and have restricted seating to keep a safe distance between patrons. Retailers in clothing and beauty no longer suggest trying on clothes or products for your health and wellbeing. The shared considerations for returning to the workplace for any industry are discussed in PwC’s article centred on workspaces, communication, health and safety, operations, and mental health and wellbeing. Here are some key notes:

  • Safely manage the flow of employees, visitors, and customers in and out of your workplace to adhere to maximum capacity laws and social distancing guidelines
  • How will you be communicating the changes? Will your message to employees be the same email to your customers? How will delivery personnel know where they can come into the workplace? Have you discussed new operating procedures with management to implement or will you seek out government services?
  • Plan for the health and safety changes such as: PPE for staff, protocols for cleaning, risk management for contact tracing, distancing for customers, and shift work to minimise employees in the workplace
  • Prioritise the changes your staff are facing: feeling comfortable returning to work, the anxiety and stress of job security, expectations of productivity, mental/physical/emotional support you can provide

Returning to work in 2020 is a feeling unlike no other, and everyone around us is likely feeling the same. The changes to keep everyone safe and healthy are reassuring guidelines that the future is different, but we will persevere.

Written by: Jessica Hausheer