September 4, 2020

How Will We Adapt To Office Life After Lockdown?

Now that lockdown restrictions are being eased around the country, businesses of all shapes and sizes, and across all industries and sectors, are starting to stage a return to the office - but the working landscape has certainly changed as a result of the coronavirus crisis and the office environment that we once knew has long gone… most likely forever.

In terms of the actual physical environment, teams returning to the office will certainly see big differences, with signage on the floor and walls reminding everyone of the importance of adhering to social distancing guidelines, perspex walls separating staff members, hand sanitising stations positioned strategically around and about… the list goes on. 

But the way in which we work has also changed and it’s important that employers and employees alike are aware of this and know what their responsibilities are in this regard.

One of the biggest changes seen is in workplace communication, as there will still be many working from home now and well into the future. Some team members may never return to the office at all, so technology will play an increasingly important role in the world of work… and the right etiquette needs to be followed, as a result. 

While flexibility is becoming the cornerstone of a successful business, it’s important to make sure that people know they don’t have to be available at any and all times of day, so if emails are sent out of hours, staff members should feel comfortable knowing that they don’t have to respond immediately.

Zoom fatigue is something else to be aware of and, while video conferencing and digital team meetings have proved invaluable over lockdown, they can be incredibly draining… and businesses need to remember this. 

They don’t need to be used for every single form of communication, so don’t forget that phone calls can be just as effective - perhaps even more so, in some circumstances.

And while lockdown anxiety certainly affected many of us in March and mental health has, understandably, been a hot topic of discussion over the last few months, companies would also do well to remember that re-entry anxiety could also prove to be a similar source of affliction, as well. 

Pushing team members too fast too soon could have serious implications for mental health and it’s important to remember that everyone is different. While some may fare better in the office and find the return to work easy, others may struggle, depending on what their lockdown experience has been like.

Maintain open channels of communication and keep checking in with staff, as they may find they struggle unexpectedly in the future and may need some help with their mental health. 

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