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5 ways the workplace is changing following COVID-19

18 May 2020

Following the government’s announcement on Sunday 10th May, the UK is now starting to see some workers return to the workplace. But with the UK still anxious on keeping safety measures up, how will our new workplace look in comparison to the routine we once had? Let’s find out.

  • Working from home will become more permanent

Over recent years, working from home has been an increasingly popular demand in the modern workplace, and following lockdown, many companies are looking into the future with an open mind. The last 8 weeks have given us an opportunity to put the theory of whether you can be just as productive working from home as being sat at your desk in the office, to the test and the results so far have been positive. Paving the way for remote working is Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, who just this week communicated to his entire staff that even after the lockdown ends, he is giving his employees the option to permanently work from home.

  • Spaced out workspaces for those who can’t work from home

For certain roles within a business, it’s simply not possible to work from home, meaning those employees must be on-site to effectively carry out their role and although social distancing measures are still in place, many employers are keen to get back to some form of business as usual and are looking at ways to get their staff back to work. So how can businesses do this? The removal of hot-desking and face to face meetings all contribute effectively, but the biggest thing businesses need to factor in is spacing their staff accordingly. So whereas usually, pre-lockdown, you would have say, 6 people per pod of desks, once we return to the office, it may be a case of 2 people per pod of desks. What about the remaining 4 people, you ask? That’s where flexible working comes into effect.

  • Flexible working and alternating shift patterns

Flexible working, much like working from home, has been actively encouraged in recent years, and according to studies, 61% of business owners said that remote workers increased company profit, 83% of entrepreneurs said that flexible hours boosted employee productivity and 30% of remote workers accomplished more in less time. But the reason behind the most recent push for flexible working is to allow businesses to keep the manpower they need, all whilst following the safety guidance to keep distance. Not only will it address the safety aspect of going back to work, but it could also save businesses money. How? We hear you ask. If you have the same amount of manpower working alternate hours, you won’t have the need for so many desk spaces, thus saving you money on workspaces/office equipment.

  • Businesses to offer more mental health support

It’s been an extremely challenging period for humanity, and the emotions that come with that can be very overwhelming. But it’s also very normal, and there has been a mass of support and positivity spread during lockdown to help support each other in these strange times. That being said, returning to work after such a long period of time can be a difficult adjustment, so employers must have a strategy in place to ease the transition. There are some businesses who have already been supporting their staff with their mental health, such as accounting firm, Ernst & Young. EY have been very proactive in supporting both physical and mental health, but having free online health assessments and 24 hour confidential counselling services that can be used by both employees and their families is definitely a perfect example of where the modern workplace is heading. Healthy employees produce healthy results.

  • Employees will experience a bigger sense of community

Last but not least, we think it’s safe to say it’s times like these when we realise just how much we took having a 5 minute chat with our work colleagues in the kitchen for granted. This along with the sense of feeling a little lost at times has made many employees communicate more on a personal level as well as professional, particularly those who are on furlough. We may find that we no longer spend all our time in the office like we’re used to, but pulling together in a crisis like this just proves how well we can all support each other and come out stronger and more determined to succeed.

We hope you found this article useful. If you are currently looking for work and would like some guidance, please get in touch by emailing recruit@firstrg.com or giving our team a call on +44(0)1925 907000.

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