Introduction

Covid-19 Secure OfficeSince Covid-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11th, there has been unprecedented changes in the way we live and work. With a lot of ambiguity, misinformation and in some areas a lack of detailed guidance, Baker Stuart have brought together the official guidance, facts and advice that has been created by both the Government and other official bodies to help you easily access information relevant to Covid-19, what Covid-19 Secure means, how to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the workplace and how it will impact the post lockdown return to work both short and long term.

Baker Stuart have already worked closely with several organisations designated as essential service providers right from the start of the lockdown to help them to create Covid-19 secure environments in which they can safely continue to work, and wanted to share this expertise, as well as to look to the future of the workplace and the issues and opportunities that might be encountered.

Please note: The advice and guidance in this site represents Baker Stuart’s opinion only. Each user assumes full responsibility for the usage of any information published on this site. Please see our detailed disclaimer here.

Covid-19 Secure Return to Work Resources

The Facts

The Covid-19 Secure Workplace

Our resources, advice and recommendations on how to protect your employees, limit the spread of coronavirus and how to make your workplace Covid-19 secure:

  • Creating a Covid-19 Secure Office – an interpretation of the Government return to work guidance published on May 11th
  • How to create Covid-19 secure space plans – a guide to help produce space plans relevant to the Covid-19 return to work
  • Examples of Covid-19 secure space plans – different ways to create a Covid-19 secure workplace; focusing on social distancing in a Covid-19 secure office, creation of Covid-19 secure shift patterns, circulation in a Covid-19 secure office and the different capacities that can be achieved 
  • Rules and guidelines to apply when creating a Covid-19 secure workplace – looking at office planning during Covid-19, the behaviours and etiquettes to apply when designing a Covid-19 secure space, hygiene considerations to take into account,  and other additional considerations when creating a Covid-19 secure workplace
  • Example Covid-19 secure workplace – a case study sharing information gained when working in partnership with an essential key worker organisation to create Covid-19 secure office spaces 
  • The Impact of Returning to Work on Mental Health – 5 signs that your employees might be struggling 
  • Do you really need your staff back in the office? Why rush all your teams back to the office during the Covid-19 pandemic if they are working productively and safely at home? We believe this is the acid test – read our blog.

Government Guidance on Returning to Work for Specific Industries

Home Working During Covid-19

There has been a huge increase in working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many have adapted to it well but there are challenges to both the individual employees and their managers. Employees need to find ways to maintain productivity when working from home, whilst protecting their wellbeing, and managers need to adapt their management style in order to effectively manage home workers during the covid-19 pandemic. With home working post-Covid-19 set to be a major part of our “new normal”, here are our resources to help you and your team work effectively, productively, and safely from home:

Covid-19 Issues and Opportunities

Long Term Impact of Covid-19 on Organisations

The post Covid-19 world of work (the “New Normal”) is uncertain, both in terms of what the landscape will look like, and the time it will take to get there. However, what we can predict is the following, and all of these suggest a need to re-evaluate current working styles in order to have an effective way to work post Covid-19.

  • Cost saving will be critical as organisations try to rebuild cash reserves expended to stay aloft and protect employees or deal with a post lockdown drop in income. 
  • There is likely to be a groundswell of demand from employees to continue some form of home working and for customers to be dealt with remotely.  
  • As employees (and customers) become adept at using video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Teams, there will be less need for people to meet face to face.
  • Previous resistance to agile / home working – particularly from management with concerns around trust and productivity – will reduce dramatically. 
Whilst the above are all issues likely to be faced when looking at effective working post Covid-19, specific issues will be relevant to different sectors and should be considered;

Corporate Real Estate

Covid-19 has severely impacted the use of office space short term, but what will the long term impact be? Could it be an opportunity to completely re-evaluate how we work and what that means in terms of where we work, the required workplace size and facilities and associated costs? The post Covid-19 world of work (the “new normal”) is uncertain but what we can predict is:

  • A new balance will be needed in the office – will we still need vast seas of empty desks or will offices down size and become more meeting and collaboration centres, somewhere to have a mid-city presence, the bronze nameplate on the order and a place to meet clients?
  • Organisations will be able to be much more ambitious about the agile models they adopt and reap greater operational savings and benefits.
  • Organisations adopting more agile and remote working practices will see significant gains in staff retention & attrition, improvements in staff morale and reductions in operational costs, absenteeism and gains in productivity
  • Organisations not adopting agile working could be left behind.

Higher Education Institutions

Higher education has been impacted severly by Covid-19 creating a numbe rof issues both short and long term.

  • Significant drops in  income from reduced numbers of overseas students and deferrals by UK students.
  • A need to make teaching spaces more relevant for the new reality. Is there going to be more focus on online lecturing, and less face to face engagement? How much physical space will we need?
  • With a potential shift to a more online based delivery model which could lead to a potential wider global reach and longer term increases in students – what will the impact be to our campuses. 
  • Although HE Institutions are getting adept at using Zoom / Teams, there is still no substitute for face to face interaction; how do we encourage collaboration in order to provide the richest learning environment?
  • Will increased home learning create isolation? Are a population of young people who may have moved away from family for the first time likely to be more vulnerable to mental health concerns?

Councils & Local Authorities

Like the corporate world, Covid-19 has had a major impact on office accommodation, but more seriously, a very negative impact on already very stretch local authority budgets. However, also like the corporate world, it does present an opportunity to reevaluate how we deliver our services. 

  • Does every department need to return to the office or is it more appropriate for certain services / teams to remain remote working in the long term?
  • Is there going to be more focus on and less need for desks due to a rise in homeworking? How many desks do we need?
  • How much home working do you allow? If we allow employees to work from home when they want, we risk not having a sufficient spread of support; particularly in customer facing departments. How will this be structured in the long term?
  • Not everyone wants to work from home (or is able to) and there is a danger in sweeping everyone along in a tide of agile working that doesn’t suit them?

Manufacturing

Manufacturing is arguably one of the sectors where Covid-19 secure working is the hardest to implement in the short term, and even where possible supply chain issues have severely impacted output. But what will the impacts and opportunities be on the sector be impacted long term, after the pandemic has receded?

  • Will there be an opportunity to create hybrid working models in those organisations who are tied to a physical workplace for the production of goods, but who have a support staff that could work remotely?
  • Is there going to be any room for change or will organisations need to return to structured working whilst others around them are able to adapt and become more flexible? What impact will this have on competitiveness and staff attraction and retention?

Further Help

If you would like further help and advice from Baker Stuart in any matters relating to the creation and maintenance of a Covid-19 secure workplace, support and advice for managers and employees working from home or the long term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on your real estate strategy, please contact us directly or click on one of the links below for further information on the services and advice we offer that we feel are most helpful at this time:

  • Real Estate Strategy – assessing the impact of the “new normal” on your long-term real estate needs as an organisation
  • Creating Covid-19 secure workplaces and space planning to introduce social distancing
  • Workplace Consultancy – helping you develop your new ways of working and designing workplaces for the “new normal”
  • Staff engagement, activity and wellness surveys – our PeopleLOOK staff engagement survey covers not just employee satisfaction like traditional surveys, but also employees’ activity levels, team & organisational personality and workstyle preferences to allow conclusions to be drawn on the types of work setting needed in the new office and to predict future utilisation levels.
  • Team Temperature Checks – a quick and easy way to understand how your team are feeling especially when working remotely / from home, and to monitor how this changes over time. Click here for more information.
  • Managing Agile Working Workshops – an ideal workshop for Managers and Leaders that can be conducted online and will provide support and guidance on how to treat a team as individuals, and to manage them effectively when no longer office based. Click here for more information.

Via our partners we can also offer:

  • Indoor Air Quality Solutions – Best-in-class air purification products with real-time environmental monitoring to make the air cleaner and healthier. This provides not just better air filtration but also the monitoring of the environment by the business and by the individual to give comfort about air quality. 
  • Occupancy Sensors – Our partners sensor driven occupancy solution allows you to understand how your space is being used. When combined with the output of the space planning to ascertain permitted capacities the sensors can be used to ensure social distances regulations are complied with and automated alerts can be set up for FMs and security to act immediately should it look like spaces are breaching guidelines.
  • Smart Desk-Booking Platforms – A platform to make the return to work after Covid-19 easier to manage. This can include contactless staff logins, desk bookings with pre-set parameters to ensure that people are appropriately spaced, as well as notifying cleaning teams which desks need to be cleaned so that the workplace can be utilised safely.

Important Information About This Site and The Information Contained Within

The content contained in this site is intended to be general in nature and should not be considered to be professional advice. Further, Government and medical advice regarding the pandemic is regularly changing and evolving. In all cases you should consult with a professional relevant to your particular situation before making any decisions. BakerStuart Limited is not liable and does not accept any responsibility or liability with regard to any action or abstention from action related to information published on this site.

Each user assumes full responsibility for the usage of information published on this site.  You must review the official government guidance and be sure that it is properly understood and that any actions or decisions you take are relevant and appropriate for your particular circumstances before any changes are made. A full and detailed risk assessment is vital.

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