Top tips for returning to the office
With the COVID-19 lockdown beginning to ease in the UK, many businesses are starting to consider what a return to the office looks like.
As a software development business, Blue Car Technologies were able to move fairly seamlessly to remote working and ‘business as usual’ could still be, for the most part, achieved. How do your employees feel about returning to the office? We have put together our tips to make the transition back to the office that little bit easier:
1) COVID-19-proof your office
Your top priority should be to ensure a safe environment for employees to return to. The government has published guidance for all types of workspaces here. Complete a risk assessment to ensure that risk of transmission is minimal and ensure that your staff feel comfortable to return.
2) Respect individual preferences
Returning to the office shouldn’t be mandatory; don’t force anyone back to the office who doesn’t want to go yet. Microsoft 365 is critical to our IT system, so working in the office is no different to working from home when it comes to collaboration. Ensure that you allow and respect each person’s decisions and keep in mind that, with the right IT solution, home or office makes no difference to productivity and communication for many businesses.
3) Maintain social distancing
Everyone should adhere to the social distancing rules in the workplace, which might mean some changes! Some practices to consider implementing include:
Using seating arrangements that ensure social distancing.
Adding screens or barriers to separate people from each other.
Establishing an “office rota” to minimise the number of people each person has contact with (publishing this on SharePoint or Yammer allows everyone to see it).
Staggering start and finish times to avoid crowding in the doorways.
Continuing to use Microsoft Teams for meetings. If meetings do occur in person, maintain at least 2m distance, or even “meet & walk” outside.
Increasing the availability of hand sanitiser and the frequency of surface cleaning, particularly in a shared kitchen.
At Blue Car Technologies, we have split the office into two teams, Red and Blue (a classic!). Each team is made of an equal number of people and, based on the seating plan, team members will be sitting diagonally from each other to guarantee social distancing.
4) Contact tracing
Ahead of the NHS contact app being released, there are already solutions available that can help people identify if they have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19. These solutions can provide additional comfort for employees returning to the office.
5) Review your IT and data security
There has been an increase in cyber-attacks such as email and web-based malware and phishing scams looking to target unwitting users. Blue Car Technologies is working towards achieving the Cyber Essentials Plus certification, which is a government scheme that helps organisations protect themselves against common online threats. There has never been a better time to review your business IT security, and you should ensure that the solution you have in place include:
Identity protection such as multi-factor authentication and password managers.
Data backup for all devices and services, including Microsoft 365.
Email filtering to stop malware, spam and phishing attacks.
Web security to intercept if users are tricked in to visiting a malicious site.
Device management for easy maintenance and remote wipe if a device is lost or stolen.
6) Listen to the concerns of your employees
The lockdown has affected people’s mental health as much as their physical health. Isolation, fear of catching the virus and pressure to care for family members can affect people’s wellbeing as well as their productivity.
For this reason, it is important to understand whether your employees are fully ready to return to the office. Prior to returning to the office, have virtual conversations with your employees and find out whether they need any extra support in order to get back on track. Blue Car Technologies offers a confidential telephone counselling service to employees who may have concerns about the impact of coronavirus, whether work related or not.
If you would like to chat about the implications of returning to the office or would like to review how your teams can work securely and productively regardless of their location with solutions such as DocuSign, Microsoft 365, DMS or Power BI Integration, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.