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Back to the Office or not..........

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Back to the office, or not………..

With many people returning to their offices now the schools have returned, we have been interested to hear what solutions clients have put in place to cope with new social distancing measures and what a mixed response we have had!

Office Social Distancing

For those clients with office space large enough to social distance, many staff are now back in the office full-time.  Some clients are taking temperatures on arrival daily, with hand sanitiser at every entrance and exit.  Others have one-way systems in place so there is limited passing in corridors.  Lunchtimes have been staggered to limit traffic in kitchen areas and where there are shift changeovers, these have also been staggered to limit people in one place at a time.

For those where space is at a premium, shift patterns have been introduced.  For some this means everyone is back in the office but perhaps only 1-2 days per week each and continuing to work from home the rest of the time for now so everyone has a bit of normality.

Some clients have brought all their staff back into the office and off furlough even though they are unsure of the business requirement at this stage.  This has been a decision taken for staff morale purposes.  They have felt it was important to bring everyone back and into a team environment to ensure everyone feels part of the team and involved in the future of the business. 

From our research it seems the general feeling locally is that clients would like their staff back into the office, however, with the possibility of a “double-dip” some clients are offering for their staff continue to work part in the office, part at home, so the systems are still working should they be put under quarantine via track and trace.

The majority are still running Zoom calls to keep people involved and engaged.

Bringing staff back into the office

Getting staff back into the office has been a varied experience across different clients.  Some clients have had absolutely no reticence to this and have found their staff willing to get back to it!  Unfortunately, this has not been the experience of everyone.  Some clients have found staff unwilling to return to the office on the grounds of shielding, which is understandable.  However, in these times of social media, when these same staff members have been out and about at the weekends and during the school holidays it has raised a few questions over commitment.

Success of working from home and will it continue?

The success of working from home has been an assortment of experiences from company to company.  Most staff have adapted brilliantly and apart from odd IT issues it has worked successfully.  Those staff members who have the luxury of space in their house to separate their work and home areas, have mostly coped better than those employees working in shared home spaces.

There have been some less successful stories and it has potentially thrown into the question the future of remote working for all.  Is it OK to allow some to work from home going forward, but not offer that opportunity out to everyone based on their performance during the pandemic?  How do you make that decision and on what criteria?

The Job Retention Scheme is still available to companies until the end of October, only time will tell if organisations are going to utilise the grant to the end of the scheme or start to bring staff back earlier.

Will your company return to a pre-COVID normal or have things changed forever?  We at Compass Point Recruitment have made the decision to remain working from our office so we can welcome both our candidates and clients – all COVID compliant of course.  We enjoy the team comradery and leaving the house; however it has been agreed we will keep all our kit to work from home to enable us to quickly adapt to working from home should there be another compulsory requirement.

ACTIONS ADOPTED IN BRIEF:

  1. Hand sanitiser stations everywhere
  2. Initiating a one-way system when feasible
  3. Staggered start and finish times
  4. Staggered use of kitchen facilities

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