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The new normal: the return to the office

By Tess Parsons-Broome, Senior Marketing Executive | Published 24 May 2021

With things starting to open up again, and workers beginning to transition back to the office, we chat to our Compliance and CSI Manager, Julie, as she gives us her top tips of what businesses should consider when making the move back to the office, as well as discussing what Select Technology will be considering and implementing as we start to return.

Put employees at the centre

Overall, it’s important to recognise that everyone has had a different experience of the pandemic. Some people will still feel extremely anxious, whilst others may have a more relaxed attitude. So, be mindful of how employees and colleagues might be feeling and err on the side of caution to ensure you cater to the highest level of anxiety when establishing controls and processes.

We have hand sanitizer stations, temperature reading checks and require colleagues to wear masks when they aren’t sitting at their desks. To give extra peace of mind, we will be encouraging regular office goers to take COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests twice weekly.

How will we ensure employees feel safe?

We have had specific controls in place since people were allowed to return to the office last Autumn, both inline with Government guidelines and to ensure our employees felt comfortable and confident to come to the office if they wished to or were unable to work from home.

As we start to emerge from lockdown, we will be relaxing these controls over a period of time to cater to our employees and to reflect the nationwide situation. Of course, we’ll keep reasonable controls in place to keep everyone safe, such as encouraging handwashing and mask wearing.

Are we changing the layout of the office?

Although some other measures may no longer be needed, it’s still at the forefront of people’s minds to keep their distance from others, so it’s worth considering your office layout and whether that needs to be adapted to give employees peace of mind.

We’ll be encouraging hybrid working at Select Technology, which means we have reduced the total number of desks and we will be implementing hot desking. We have reconfigured our office to accommodate this, and we have also been more mindful of traffic flow and distance between workstations.

Of course, being a technology company, we will be implementing an electronic signing in system. The team will be able to book a hot desk for when they plan to come into the office and will also need to sign in on arrival. Capturing this data digitally means we will be able to keep track of who has sat where and when, allowing us to see patterns of office usage, busier periods and who the most regular office-goers are, and make changes if required. It also means we can easily adhere to track and trace.

What about when our team are out and about?

Due to the nature of our business, our engineers will often do site visits to customers. We already have a policy in place for this, so whatever restrictions or processes the client has, the engineers ensure that they adhere to these.

If your team are often out and about, it’s worth thinking about whether any procedures or measures will need to be thought about or implemented.

Have we thought of everything?

We hope all of this gives you food for thought in terms of your considerations for returning to office-based working. Like with anything over the past year, we are learning as we go, so we are sure we will be making changes and tweaks to our procedures and processes as things evolve.

We would also love to hear what you or your business are doing to make the new way of working better for businesses and employees. So, drop us a message!

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