Supporting your employees getting back to the office

Phil Woodward

2020 has been a challenging year, but we are approaching year end with the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine. Is 2021 when everyone is back in the office?

A vaccine will take time to roll out, but we see it is a clear signal that in 2021 we will be able to return to normal life, and that includes a return to normal office life.

Many people have missed the office, from the social side through to the work environment, it remains an important part of work for many employees. However, at the same time many companies have realised the potential for remote, home-working, and employees have seen the benefits that flexible working can provide.

In returning to work it will be important to support your team, who after months at home have got used to a new pattern. A gradual return, rather than a sharp restart, will help ease people back into the office routine.

Also, now is the opportunity to look at the huge business benefits flexible working brings. By allowing staff to mix in-office and remote working, companies can significantly reduce their desk footprint.

For instance, even if employees only worked 1-2 days on average at home, that means a reduction in desk space of 20% or more. This is a huge saving in cost.

A company could grow without adding floor space, or they could turn desk space over to other functions such as meeting rooms or collaboration spaces, boosting in-office productivity.

The opportunities are significant, but so is the administrative burden. It’s easy to administer an office when you know everyone is meant to be in, at a desk. But how do you do this when people work flexible days?

Evac One developed Office Access to solve this problem.

Once set up it takes the administrative burden away from managing who is in the office each day. Employees simply request what days they want to be, and the system allocates access.

It’s also easy to see, at a glance, whether you have sufficient fire wardens in the office. This is another, often forgotten, problem with flexible working – you must have trained fire wardens on site, and what happens if they all take the same day at home? Luckily, with Evac One this is simple to manage.

The system also provides reports on office utilisation, so you can see how many people were in the office in any period, how many wanted to be in, and so better manage how much desk space you need.

The COVID-19 crisis has been hard for many businesses, but this makes it all the more important that we take the opportunity to “build back better”. A return to the exact same workplace as pre-crisis would waste the enormous effort businesses have put in to make remote working work.

If you’d like to try Evac One for your office (there’s a free trial) you can sign up here.