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Back to the Office - THATSMYOFFICE

Back to the Office

Working Again, life after the pandemic

After the Covid pandemic forced everywhere to shut down, the slow steps back to the office have created a shift to remote working. Whilst there have been bumps and bruises along the way, the workforce has managed to adapt. The extended WFH (working from home) period has meant that businesses and employees are continuing to struggle with the idea of coming back to the office after COVID-19.

Many of the mandates and restrictions have been eliminated, but many employees are still feeling stressed about the return to onsite work. In fact, according to recent surveys, more than half of the working population are still anxious. The thought of commuting and returning to workplaces and no more working in your PJ's is stressful and we do hope that these tips will help to make the return just a tad easier!

Design Matters

  • The office is more than the building where you go to work. It’s a place where we get together to solve problems, collaborate, and socialise. It also develops the sense of belonging and community and connection that is so vital to us as humans. But the post-COVID office needs to work even harder to meet the needs of employees. Many employees are still feeling stressed about the return to office work.  The two biggest reasons why post-COVID office design matters are the retention of current employees and attracting new ones. When choosing a place to work employees know that they have options when it comes to office environments and working cultures. And they recognize the types of organisations and cultures that will best support their goals and wellbeing.

Space For Work and Meetings

Social Distancing 

  • As we return to work in increasing numbers, protective methods like screens and break out areas are needed to ensure the best and safest environment for staff. If your employees were used to working in an open office environment, consider adding easily sanitized workstations with protective screens. The quality of the air throughout the office should be considered as well. Many companies are investing in air purifiers and ensuring windows are kept open. These systems can improve health and wellbeing and help to further protect the office from the spread of viruses. 

Additional Screens

Work with Staff to set the pace

  • The transition or move back to the office should be just that, a well managed progressive move. Don't forget that many employees have been working completely at home for the better part of two years. Going back to a Monday to Friday, nine to five could be quite a shock to most. Do it in stages and don't rush (even if you want to). Encourage all of your remote workers to begin with 1-2 days in the office and build up over time. Companies that have hybrid working models find the changes easier to implement and encourage adding one additional day to the current level. Additionally, you could allow for employees to work different days in the office and this can have an impact on the space you require and break out spaces. Teams have been successfully working from home for two years. A return to the office is not time-sensitive so there is no need to rush. 


  • It seems self-explanatory but communicating changes is important, avoid misinformation and be pragmatic as staff talk to each other. Most employees want to know why they should be back in the office and also may have an input into what that office looks like. The reasons to come back need to be consistent, make sense and also be compelling. Don't forget that a number of staff have missed being in the office and subsequent interaction. When you speak to your team discuss what appeals to them about office life. Instead of requiring them to come back, create a space that they choose to be in more often. If it is collaboration and community, ensure your post-COVID office design supports it. Each team will have different things that bring them to the office. 

Are there other working models

  • Whilst we all want things to go back to normal (and I'm not even sure what that means these days!) and to be pre-pandemic work styles, the office way of life has undergone a fundamental shift. Over the last 24 months, we all understand that some work can be done anywhere. Productivity in most industries has not been adversely impacted or affected. But remote working has had an impact. Company culture has changed and maintaining this has been a challenge. However, working differently can have a benefit, avoiding staff feeling isolated or lonely is important along with a work-life balance. Hybrid offices can help in embracing change and encourage a feeling of wellness, especially when recruiting new staff. There are many working models available today. For some companies, remote working may still be what is preferred. For others a fully in-person workforce is ideal. But increasingly, a hybrid model has emerged. This increased flexibility seems to be meeting the needs of many as they transition back to the office after COVID-19.


Create Comfortable Work Spaces



Be Flexible

  • The bottom line is that no two employees and staff members are the same, what works for one may not work for another. It is, therefore, more important than ever that the workplace is flexible and this flexibility doesn't just mean how many days in the office are required. If the office or onsite work is a priority for your business, consider offering flexibility in other areas.
    • Maybe it could be the days of the week required
    • Or the number of hours in each day.
    • Different or staggered start and end times.

But flexibility doesn’t have to end there! The possibilities are endless in the options that you can offer your employees as increased flexibility reduces burnout, encourages longevity of work, can boost productivity, and help improve morale, which all add up to a direct impact on health and wellness. 


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