Aren’t we all used to waking up right at the time of our office? Or have prolonged our working hours as we are saving time in traveling? Aren’t we now used to working from our bed too? More and more companies have started to remodel their work in a ‘work-from-home’ feature.
The pandemic has made many employees work from home. Companies who have had a long break, have slowly started re-opening their work. Most companies have adopted the idea of ‘work from home’ as that has been the option to rely on. However, there are companies and factories that cannot opt for the same option. Majority of people have learned and accommodated themselves to work from the comfort of their home. The pandemic has turned homes to offices.
It has been more than two months where the entire nation has been working from home due to the precautionary lockdown. No schedule or a fixed time limit to reach the office, has surely made a huge impact in everyone’s life. Even with that, we know that people have to return to their offices? But, will office life be the same? Once the offices will reopen? How many precautions will be expected from the offices?
It will be more difficult for people to come back to their office space and be equally comfortable the way they were before. As social-distancing makes its way into people’s lives, a lot of casual culture will change. A lot of ideal office culture will change and may not resort to the way it was before.
People being in the same room enjoying canteen culture or even being in the same conference room. It will definitely change the idea of the office work space. Many people may not enjoy the same office idea as a lot of things will change. It will take quite a long time for people to be social in a comfortable manner again. The offices will be required to give some time and open eventually amidst the pandemic.
India is no different, offices in India are also going to take some time to accommodate people in a similar workspace again. The closed space and work ideas will change the way they were before. Having huge labor power, Indian offices are a lot more crowded in a compact space compared to offices abroad.
Many offices abroad have started working with minimal staff as they are following strict rules of social distancing. This is going to result in quite a few changes and alterations from the management side of the companies. In India, the metropolitan areas such as Mumbai, Ahemdabad, Delhi, Noida and Bangalore are major business hubs. Offices are waiting to resume as quickly as they can. And since the work load will also be more, more staff will be required by the firms. As the situation prevails, the work space will eventually open up again and people will return back to their respective offices.
Places like Noida even use shared co-working spaces which are more conventional ways for many start-ups and small scale companies. Conventional workplaces in Noida are quite reliable to many companies. In such a case, many employees from different companies share some common space such as cafeteria, lounge, pantry and so. It will definitely go against the rule of social distancing.
As many people will use such common space, close proximity will surely be unavoidable. Surely, these offices will have to look into major safety precautions. As India will slowly lift the lockdown, the government is expected to share some safety precautions required for the same with the guidelines that will be shared by WHO. Some of the tips on what the offices can possibly do, to make the workspace more and more comfortable for their employees.
Sanitization in the office
As most of the offices will slowly start to open, safety measures would be most required for the staff coming to work. Including sanitizing the office on a daily basis and providing a clean work environment. The employees will also have to make extra efforts to make sure their basic hygiene and cleanliness is maintained. Desks to tables to be placed at an appropriate distance, constant cleaning of desks, chairs and every stationary used in the office. The staff will have to keep their surroundings as clean as they can. Bare hands contact should be avoided at all costs, use of all the required sanitary measures is essential.
Sanitizers, masks and gloves should be recommended in the office. Such precautions will help in maintaining a proper distance and will work as a safety net for all the employees who will be in the office. The office staff should be given wipes and napkins and sanitizer on their desks as that will help in taking personal care. Constantly cleaning their desks, chairs and electronics with a disinfector will be quite a need of the hour. As not only the office but also each and every employee will have to manage their personal care. Cleaning of all the items used by the staff such as computers, accessories, chairs, cutlery in the office and so should be cleaned properly.
Posters should be put up in the office as that can help by being a constant reminder to the staff so that they can follow up to the new rules. Every spot should have numbered entry, allowing just a certain number of people in the area for the time being.
The staff should be provided with good handwash soap at every restroom and even lounge or cafeteria locations. The staff should be encouraged to regularly wash their hands and also keep them clean at all times. They should wash their hands at proper regular intervals. These measures will surely help the offices to make it more safe for the employees to work and accept the new work culture.
Building trust for the employees
The pandemic has surely made everyone quite paranoid of their surroundings. As the COVID-19 is known to spread from person to person by being in close proximity, making social distancing quite the acceptance of the time. The offices will have to ensure their staff about the cleanliness and sanitization of the office. They will have to make sure that the employees feel safe returning to the office. Before directly starting the workspace, the employees should be educated towards the basic idea of what new rules and changes will be followed in the workspace. They should be informed of how it will be affecting the general idea of office culture and how it will be important for them to accommodate themselves to this change.
Social Distancing by the Staff
In the workplace, the employees should avoid sharing their belongings and should maintain proper distance among themselves. Having lunch together or traveling together, sitting in close distance or using the conference room should be avoided until completely necessary. Having a lot of people together in the same place may not be advisable. All the staff should maintain a time gap in using close proximity items, such as printing areas, in office coffee machines. Even when working in the office, the staff should not sit among themselves and maintain safe distance. Cleaning the office in regular intervals should also be done. The office should manage how the employees will work in sync to the new schedule. If the employee can work from home, the staff can be divided in two groups and have alternate days working.
That can lower the risk of overcrowding in the offices. Many workplace or coworking spaces should create a schedule to use the common areas and also divide them in groups. They should sanitize the areas after the use of each group. Using elevators, lifts and stairways at a proper maintained distance by not overcrowding it during essential hours.
Testing of employees
The employees should be regularly tested at the entry and exist at every point. The employees who are not well, should not come to the office and choose to work from home until they are completely healthy and are feeling well. Maintaining all the health precautions will be quite mandatory for all the offices and work areas. All the hotspot locations of the virus, should follow this rule more strictly. The companies should test the employees and make sure anyone should not have any symptoms and if they do, they should not be allowed to enter the premises.
Use of modern and advanced technology
Covid-19 is going to stay for a while, it would be advisable for the companies to invest in some good technology such as sanitizer stands and handsfree doors, that will avoid more common contact and be more reliable. Obviously, they are not just short time investments, they will definitely give a more classy look to the office and at the same time will be extremely reliable. Packages getting delivered in the office should also be sanitized before they are entering the main office premise and also cleaned can be opened with gloves. The person entering the company, office or workspace should be sanitized and also sprayed with disinfectant. These measures will surely help in the longer run for the employees sake. Many complications will surely make way as the offices will slowly open around the country, but some of the basic measures should be taken care of by the employer. It is definitely quite important to wait for the situation to be more in control before the offices open completely, working with limited staff will be more advisable for the time being. A contagious spread can be boundless to spread when the measures are not well taken. These rules and measures cannot be treated lightly as they are implemented in the offices. In a way, companies will have to impose these rules on the employees. At a certain point, it will be important for business hubs like Noida to make sure their workspace is completely safe to manage the staff they have working. The pandemic has surely brought many changes, accepting them on a professional front is going to be a little more challenging, but people will surely get comfortable with it over time. These precautionary measures are surely going to become a part of daily life in the coming future.