Previously, when the topic of flexible workspaces arose, thoughts turned to innovations like modular meeting spaces, focused work pods, or hot-desking. But, in the time of coronavirus, the reality has changed. Now it’s less about maximizing space and more about keeping employees healthy and productive. Start by assessing your available workspace and determining how many of your employees need or want to return to the office. You may be surprised by the results.
How Can Flexible Workspaces and Schedules Promote Health, Safety and Productivity?
Many Employees Are Eager to Return to the Office
While many people thrive in a work-from-home environment, others really miss the interaction of the workplace. Collaboration and synergy can be better in the office where you can grab a cup of coffee together or lean across someone’s cube divider to chat. A poll conducted in May by CivilScience revealed that 76% of people polled said that an office setting was “very important” or “somewhat important.” Respondents worried that collaboration and innovation would suffer if people were unable to work together in the same space.
Getting back to the office means finding a safe way to accommodate varying needs. Be honest about when and where people are most productive and adapt the workplace to accommodate your specific company culture, goals and workforce.
Consider Flexible Schedules
As we return to work, a significant safety factor is keeping population density low so that there is room for social distancing. One of the ways to do this is to stagger schedules, which can be accomplished in a number of ways. If your business is one that accommodates multiple shifts, reduce overlap to minimize exposure. You can also switch off days or weeks, allowing a group of employees to work from home while another works in the office.
Adjust the Physical Layout
Eliminate or move tables and desks apart to accommodate social distancing. Add plexiglass shields or other barriers to further protect the health of employees. HVAC systems and ventilation may need to be upgraded to make using common areas such as conference or lunchrooms feasible.
Create Separate Work Groups
Divide employees into groups so that people are consistently exposed to the same people, reducing the chances of cross-contamination. Small groups can eat together and use the same restrooms and entrances. These groups can be combined with flexible scheduling strategies by alternating the days a specific group is in the office.
Add Temporary Employees
If getting back to business means making up for lost time, consider adding temporary or contract employees to your team. Temporary workers or your core team can work remotely if you don’t have the space to accommodate additional staff, but they can help you catch up on any business you got behind on.
Looking for a way to add flexibility to your workforce?
For advice on how to adapt your workforce and your workplace to a changing business environment, contact the team at The Panther Group.