We've been helping organisations plan their Return to Office (RTO) in a way that keeps people safe and helps them shape their New Normal. Key to our approach is making sure that leaders are able to react responsibly to the context in which we find ourselves as we move through the global pandemic.
Our phased plan aligns with the UK Government’s COVID-19 threat-level guidance which offers a clear position on how to respond as well as built-in resilience as organisations know what each threat level means for them, their people and their workplaces.
Work From Home
During Threat Levels 4 & 5, the COVID-19 epidemic is in circulation and there is a material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed. This is the level where the Reproduction Number (R’ ) is high and the number of cases is rising exponentially. It’s important that organisations react immediately and responsibly. Those who can work from home should work from home and organisations work to improve digital platforms to enable remote working and smooth communication. The office is deep-cleaned and secured.
Back to Business phase 1: COVID-SECURE
During Threat Level 3, a COVID-19 epidemic is in circulation, but the R number is less than one, and restrictions begin to be relaxed, whilst physical distancing is maintained outside of the home.
It’s at this stage that we can begin to re-introduce people to the workplace. The office officially reopens, with physical distancing measures and visible hygiene protocols heightened. Consider split teams to reduce on-site numbers (10-30% of your total headcount) and increase resilience. See my piece on Spatial Considerations for more detail on how to organise the office for the COVID-secure phase.
Threat Level 2 - COVID-19 is present in the UK, but the number of cases and transmission is low. No or minimal distancing measures are in place; enhanced testing, tracing, monitoring and screening are active.
Back to Business phase 2: TRANSITION
Create 'Safe Zone(s)' that maintain COVID-secure static physical distancing for recent returners and others where fixed teams can colocate more densely, depending on test availability and team opinion. Everyone follows dynamic distancing protocols in circulating through the spaces. Capacity: around 40-60% employee total.
Back to Business phase 3: NEW NORMAL
During the COVID Threat Level 1, COVID-19 is not known to be present in the UK. Routine international monitoring continues to monitor the emergence of new cases.
Once e comfortably reach this lowest threat level, all COVID regulations are relaxed. Workspaces can begin to operate as per full design intent. Consider long-term WFO/WFH blended approach to allow greater work-life integration. Make the office a hub for collaboration, creativity and culture.