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Planning for Reoccupation of the Workplace

Organisations need to plan for the return to the workplace. How and when people work needs addressing for the successful reoccupation of the office.

Workplace Reoccupation

The health pandemic has significantly changed the way many office employees work, with a huge proportion still working flexibly from home for either part of all of their week. Agile and Hybrid working is now central to many organisations. This has allowed a real shift in work/life balance, with increased flexibility meaning employees can better balance personal responsibilities alongside working as they make the most of their available hours.

As businesses start to think about their return to the workplace strategy and staff planning, it’s important to consider how this change in approach can be maintained in a way that continues to deliver business outcomes whilst respecting the importance of work/life balance.  There are a number of levers that businesses can pull to help encourage employees back to the office in a safe and flexible way.

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Staggered Hours / Shift Patterns

Staggered hours/shift patterns: building flexibility into the start and finish times of the working day has a number of benefits.  Whilst allowing parents with childcare responsibilities time to complete the drop-off/pick up, it also protects against travelling at peak times, particularly where public transport is the only method available.  It can also help with managing the flow of people through the office at any given time which is particularly helpful break times when queues for facilities are likely to form.  The same applies to creating staggered shifts, creating more opportunities for employees to work at a time that works best for their personal circumstances.

split working in and out of building people walking on stair in building at daytime

Team Rotations

Team rotations: If it’s not practical to have your entire workforce back at one due to social distancing, one option is to consider rotating which team is in the office on any given day.  This allows employees to work flexibly for most of the week but also allows individuals to plan for those days when they will be working in the office collaborating with their wider team.

Split Team Working 

Split team working: Similar to team rotations, it could be that you need the presence of a particular team on site every day but that space doesn’t allow the full team to return at once.  Splitting the team up and creating a rota of who needs to be in when will ensure that physical presence in the office is consistent whilst ensuring the split of flexible and office working is fair and workable for the whole team.

man and woman laughing office working while sitting in front of laptops

Utilising Hub Offices

Utilising hub offices: For many larger businesses with offices in key strategic locations, one of the benefits is the economies of scale of bringing everyone together into a small number of large sites.  With so many shifts in ways of working, there is now a growing trend towards setting up or better utilising hub or satellite sites, creating opportunities to work from an office without requiring individuals to travel extensively or mix with significantly large crowds of people.

Looking forward, those companies who are able to strike the right balance between the needs of their employees and those of the business are the ones who will thrive. They are also the ones who will reap the rewards of increased employee engagement, loyalty and ultimately retention, all of which are key as companies look to future growth and success.

Effective planning for the reoccupation of the workplace is, therefore, key to all HR departments and business leaders.  

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