Office culture expected to change after the coronavirus

Covid-19 | Covid-19 Advice | Employment & Skills | Reports

Do you like mingling around the water cooler? Drinks after work? Well this is likely to be put on hold whilst the nation adapts to a new culture of office working in light of the coronavirus.

The Prime Minister has detailed a 50-page plan to get Britain back on track and this includes a plan to action to get people working in their offices again.

However, workers will need to get used to some new practices if they are going to be working in congregating offices, which includes transport to work, how people sit at their desks and also conduct meetings.

More bike space

In terms of transport, office owners have been asked to allow for more bike space on their premises, with some places adding bike racks and changing car spaces to bike spaces. This is intended to support cycling to work and avoid congregating on busy trains and platforms.

Where possible, workers are also encouraged to go to work by foot, whether it is walking, jogging or running.

Continue remote working

With over five million people working remotely in the last two months, the government has urged those who are working remotely to continue doing so if they can.

Many companies across the country have adapted well to working from home, with staff using their home desktops and laptops. For many firms, remote working is something that is likely to be more common and integrated into their business to minimise costs.

Avoid face-to-face meetings

Employees are still encouraged to avoid face-to-face meetings, which should also limit the need to journey to other parts or locations for the meeting to take place, thereby limiting overall transport.

Workers have become accustomed to using video conferencing and screen-sharing platforms over the last eight weeks such as Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Business and the 50-page plan endorses the continued use of these.

Adjustments to desk spaces

To maintain social distancing, employers have been asked to make adjustments to their staff’s desk spaces, creating gaps of two metres or more, where possible.

Plastic screens and barriers between staff members has been proposed and are recommended, especially when dealing with the general public. This was quickly adopted by supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco who now have protective screens at the checkout area.

If you have any queries about making your office space more adapted to coronavirus regulations, you can speak directly to your office agent or a specialist such as Pilcher London, Monmouth Dean or Savills.

Bring your own food or get meals delivered

In an attempt to avoid workers going out of the office and buying lunch from supermarkets or shops, the 50-page plan encourages people to bring their own meals to work or get food delivered to the office.

This aims to avoid unnecessary mixing, queuing up and putting different households in contact with others, whilst still allowing small restaurant owners to continue to trade and generate revenue.

Business secretary Alok Sharma said: “This guidance provides a framework to get the UK back to work in a way that is safe for everyone.

“These are practical steps to enable employers to identify risks that Covid-19 creates and to take pragmatic measures to mitigate them.

“And as we are able to reopen new sectors of the economy, we will continue our collaborative approach working with a wide range of stakeholders, to provide guidance for additional workplaces.”

Mr Johnson said on Monday: “We are going to insist that businesses across this country look after their workers, are Covid secure, Covid compliant.”

“The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will be enforcing it and we will be having spot inspections to make sure employees are keeping their employees safe.”

“It is up to workers to raise it with their employers and the HSE too.”

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