If you have been out of work or working from home through the early months of the pandemic, you might be surprised to see what the “new normal” in your workplace looks like. If you typically have your own office, you may assume there will be little change, but consider all the steps it takes to get to your desk – the things you touch, the people you encounter. What about getting to your office, using the restroom, grabbing lunch or meeting with colleagues? It will all need to be rethought.
Here’s what to expect as the “New Normal” For Working in an Office:
Doors may have been swapped out with automatic motion sensor doors, or propped open to reduce touchpoints. You might have your temperature taken and be screened for common coronavirus symptoms. You will almost certainly be expected to enter wearing a mask, or one might be provided for you. Hallways might be one-way to control foot traffic and ensure social distancing.
If you have an office, you may be asked to (or want to) keep your door closed, even if you previously had an open-door policy. You may find that bullpen or other open office environments have more space between desks or are separated by dividers. Common areas like meeting or lunchrooms may be off-limits or the number of people permitted in one time reduced. You may only be allowed to use spaces when you are scheduled or asked to eat at your desk.
Many people will be nervous about contracting COVID-19. They will be cautious in their encounters with others, meticulous about cleaning and may be especially anxious. Others may be recovering from the virus and may be tired and struggling to get back to normalcy. There may be fewer people in the building as coworkers choose to continue working from home. There may be some awkwardness as people become accustomed to social distancing and look for ways to replace the handshake.
There will be much more cleaning occurring in the office. Whereas you may be accustomed to never seeing the cleaning crew because they come in after hours, cleaning will be ongoing to keep shared surfaces sanitized throughout the day. The building may undergo a deeper clean overnight when it’s empty. You will certainly see more handwashing and hand sanitizer usage.
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