10 Ways The Workplace Will Be Different, Post Lockdown
According to reports the Government has devised a new set of workplace regulations that must be adhered to for when lockdown is lifted and people are permitted to return to work. Boris Johnson is set to give a comprehensive briefing on Sunday confirming and outlining the measures that the Government and their scientific advisors have ordered be put in place before people are allowed to return to their place of work but some details have already been released by the media.
These measures vary from industry and setting, but the common and crucial denominator is that people feel safe, secure and protected whilst being at work. There is an extensive list that has and will be adapted according to sector, but below are some of the key points and regulations according to reports specifically for the office environment:
10 Potential Workplace Regulations
- Staggered shift/start times
- One way systems
- Specific exit and entry points
- No sharing of equipment
- No ‘hot desking’ – allocated seats only
- PPE and Protective Screens
- Social Distancing
- Hygiene Stations
- People sitting next to eachother rather than opposite one another (assumingely to reduce air contamination)
- Employees to continue to work from home wherever possible
However, despite these measures, how safe are we really going to feel and how will returning to work impact on our mental health. Again according to reports, employers will have to complete a risk assessment detailing the measures they are going to take to ensure their employees are and feel protected and safe, with an estimated £100,000 a week being spent by some companies to achieve this.
But even when lockdown is lifted and these measures are in place, a huge percentage of us are still going to feel incredibly anxious and nervous about taking this step, especially if we’ve already proved we can sufficiently work from home. Working from home may become the new normal for a lot of us and carry on indefinitely in environments where we are able to perform our job at home, but some industries such as factories and jobs within the public sector – working from home is not an option and sadly there will be a great deal of anxiety and fear within these communities and employers need to do everything they can and exhibit compassion and understanding at all times and Everymind at Work can support you no matter what your business or sector.
But even if some offices and their employees do return to their central hub, it certainly won’t be the environment they left and are used to, and may never be again.
From ‘OFF’ice to ‘ON’ice
One of the things that a lot of people miss the most about the office environment is their team and their colleagues and the social element. Zoom is great, but it doesn’t replace real life human interaction which is vital to our well being – both professionally and personally. But if we’re separated from our colleagues; whether it be through shift times, protective screens, PPE and social distancing – are we going to feel the social nourishment that we are missing? And if we’ve proved we can sufficiently work from home and perform our role and duties, might we feel resentful being asked to return to work if we don’t feel safe – and what will that mean for our future?
Time will tell, and every mind and every individual is different. But one thing is for sure, things will not be returning to ‘normal’ anytime soon. Infact the normal we once knew may have gone forever, and how employers react and the measures they will take will define a new normal, hopefully one that has every unique employee at the heart and forefront of their minds, and practicing sensitivity and understanding will be imperative in every business and for every employer/employee relationship.
£100,000 a week to protect employees is a lot of money and a good start, but peace of mind? Well that’s priceless.
These measures outlined by government focus primarily on our physical health, but inevitably they will impact on our mental well being. We have all been impacted emotionally and mentally by coronavirus and lockdown, and this must not be overlooked or devalued and employers MUST take this into account when thinking about their employees and the future. We’ve all been through a war, whether it be a physical one or a mental one, and we will all need time to recover and self care and sensitivity in our futures and our lives are paramount.
No matter what your circumstances; whether you’re an employer or business who needs guidance as to how to support your employees mentally and emotionally moving forwards or whether you’re an employee who feels that their workplace would benefit from mental health support within your work environment then please get in touch.
Now more than ever, your mind and well-being and that of your colleagues matter; and we are here to help.
Let’s see what Sunday brings, but in the meantime, look after yourself and your loved ones.