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The Office As We Know It Will Never Be The Same

By July 24, 2020March 26th, 2021No Comments

As offices have shut down to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 people have been working from home. During this time there have been questions on how working in the home environment has affected productivity, if employees want to return to the office environment, and what are the guidelines to reopening offices safely.

How have employees adjusted to working from home?

The Global Workplace Analytics conducted a survey with nearly 3,000 employees responding between March 30th and April 24th, 2020 making it one of the largest global post-COVID employee survey to date. Here are a few findings from the survey:

  1. 73% say they are very successful working from home (68% globally).
  2. 78% North American office workers say they have the resources they need to be successful at home (72% globally). They are most successful when they have the tools, skills, and resources they need and they have a good place to work at home.
  3. People feel they perform equally well at home as they do in the office (70% are satisfied in both places) in both solo and group work, but they are more satisfied collaborating in person.
  4. Only 19% in North America want to say goodbye to the office forever (16% globally), with most preferring a bit of both. Half of the time in each place seems to be the sweet spot in the U.S. and slightly less in Europe.

After the pandemic what could the work place look like?

A survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from April 29 – May 1, 2020, among 1,188 U.S. employed adults ages 18 and older, 472 of whom are exclusively working from home due to COVID-19 and were surveyed on their expectations for re-entering the workplace amid COVID-19. Here are some of the findings from their survey.

  • More than 3 in 4 (79%) expect their employer to provide disinfectant/hand sanitizer.
  • Over half (54%) expect their employer to mandate employees to wear masks/gloves in the office.
  • 45% expect their employer to space out workstations at least six feet from other co-workers.
  • 38% expect their employer to check employees’ temperatures upon arriving at work.

What are the suggested guidelines to provide a safe workplace to return to?

The CDC has given guidelines for employers to identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work.

  • Conduct a thorough hazard assessment of the workplace to identify potential hazards that could increase risks for COVID-19 transmission.
  • Identify work and common areas where employees could have close contact (within 6 feet) with others.
  • Include all employees in communication plans — for example, management, staff, utility employees, relief employees, janitorial staff, and maintenance staff.
  • If contractors are employed in the workplace, develop plans to communicate with the contracting company about changes to work processes and requirements for the contractors to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

The office environment many walked out of will not be the same one we return to. Offices may be larger (to distance desk further apart) or smaller (employees working from home no longer need a desk). There may not be any more morning chats in the break room before the work day begins. Adapting to our new work environment will be challenging but hopefully a transition made easier if planned properly.

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