There's No Place Like Work - Part One
Updated: Feb 1
We've been thinking a lot about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the workplace, and how the challenges we have faced have inspired creativity and innovation, in addition to new business behaviours.
We have developed new skills and capabilities through newly implemented technologies and workflows, allowing us to work virtually and be productive from a distance.
We have developed new ways to connect to our clients and colleagues, changing the way we communicate, collaborate and connect daily.
While remote working has had its perks – for example, no commute times and getting more time to pick up new hobbies – we have also lost things we may have taken for granted. Morning tea, coffee runs with colleagues, staff drinks, spontaneous chats and being able to ask quick questions are among the things we have missed.
Now that we are looking at the Return to Work - We’re relishing this opportunity to reconnect.
Employees value the physical office as a place to conduct meetings, socialise and connect with colleagues, but also for dedicated work spaces and creating a distinction between work and home. Workplaces can support employees sense of self worth and achievement.
Whether it is full or part time, most people want to return because there is no place like work.
Employers also see the benefits, with increased sense of morale and improved operations, and reduced lost productivity. We are assisting businesses leaders with capturing the opportunities and tackling the challenges of the transition of their workforce back into their workplaces.
Addressing the key concerns and questions is integral to the successful return to work: How do we put workforce safety first? Who do we bring back to the workplace and when? What does our workforce need to successfully transition?
The steps for the Now – guidelines for workplace Return to Work (RTW).
Understanding current government restrictions and public health advice
We are acutely aware that no two cities, just like no two businesses, are faced with the same challenges. It is important to consult the latest government and public health advice when returning to work, to ensure compliance with restrictions and current social/physical distancing measures.
Here in Melbourne, The Department of Health and Human Services is frequently updating their information, to align with current restriction levels in Victoria. As this is ever evolving, we are consistently staying up to date with the latest information to assist our clients as they navigate in their Return to Work.
Assess employee needs and workstyles
Generally, organisations are finding that a greater percentage of their staff are interested in continuing a hybrid workstyle, balancing working from both the office and from home.
We provide surveys to address strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and understand the needs and workstyles of your workforce.
Consider crucial resources and spatial limitations
The size of your organisation and the existing physical workspaces
The available resources
Accessibility to the current workplace
Establish Business Goals
Where you are and where you want to be – your short term goals
The response to the pandemic in the workplace is a balance between prioritising employee health, safety and well-being with ensuring business productivity and aligning strategy with business goals.
Implement strategy & Support Staff
A RTW strategy is developed and implemented - Guided by health advice and government restrictions, the nature and workstyles of your workforce, the existing workplace limitations and availability of resources, all aligned to business goals.
Integral to the strategy is workforce support, to ensure a successful transition. Clear communication, staff education, providing information and links to resources, increases confidence and sense of security. It strengthens positive culture and empowers employees in their work.
Reassessment - scenarios evolve and situations can change. Whether it is a change in restrictions, workforce behaviours and needs or goals, its important to check in to fortify a successfully workplace strategy.
The "Next Normal" - Designing the future of your business
After successfully tackling the intermediary period, businesses are looking at future business continuity and developing long term business goals.
How does your workplace facilitate well-being? Address security and health in the long term? What does your future workplace look like?
We'll be addressing these concerns and more in our next part of this series - stay tuned!