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Freedom Day – What does a return to the workplace mean?

With 19th July fast approaching, we take a look at what the Government’s lifting of social distancing restrictions means for a return to the workplace.

Is working from home a thing of the past?

The Government has recently revoked their previously strong guidance to work from home, and employers will “be able to start planning a safe return to the workplace.”

One reason for the Government doing this is that many companies rely on office workers for passing trade; therefore, the return to the workplace will, in turn, benefit these companies.

Will working from home now become a thing of the past? How quickly will the rat race of life resume? Will we lose the positive work-life balance that working from home offered?

Do people actually want to return to the office?

A poll of workers conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health’s (RSPH) found that two-thirds (67%) of workers who shifted from the office to home during the pandemic felt less connected to their colleagues.

A return to the office will hopefully support people who have felt less connected. However, do people feel confident about the return to the office?

The Government hopes that encouraging a return to the office, will “enable people to make informed decisions about how to manage the risk to themselves and others.” In some respects, this will give people the opportunity to choose or challenge their return to the office.

What are the benefits of a return to the workplace?

As a business, The Social Desk has cautiously welcomed the return to the office. By nature, we are a creative industry, and you can’t quite replace the collaborative approach of all being together in the office, bouncing ideas off one another. However, we have all enjoyed some elements of working from home. We will therefore be approaching a hybrid approach to working going forward.

According to the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development (CIPD), “People generally want a mix of workplace and home working, and the possibility of more choice in their working routines, meaning hybrid working can provide an effective balance for many workers.”

What can you do to keep your workplace safe?

For us, as a business, we are a small (but mighty!) team and can continue to meet safely, even when we are all in the office. We are all healthy, young(ish) individuals and we have all been vaccinated. We have of course approached the return to the office cautiously by taking certain extra steps to keep the office as covid-safe as possible:

  • Wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds
  • Regularly clean surfaces that people touch regularly
  • Reduce unnecessary contact where practical
  • Keep the room well ventilated
  • Staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk of passing illnesses to other colleagues
  • Considering individual risks, such as clinical vulnerabilities and vaccination status
  • Encourage regular asymptomatic testing
  • Minimise unnecessary visitors

To find out more about the Government’s Covid-19 Response visit here.

What are your thoughts about returning to the office?

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