The Future of the Workplace After Stay-at-Home Orders End
As we transition from stay-at-home orders to safer-at-home, employees will gradually start returning to the office. However, new guidelines may prohibit all employees from being able to return at once. Some companies may choose to stagger daily shift times. Others may end up having 50% of employees report 2 days/week and the other 50% the other 3 days/week. Social distancing and face masks, along with many other guidelines and requirements will come into play.
What is certain, is that the future of work – and the workplace – will continue to look different for some time to come. Companies are already predicting the different measures they may take as the situation evolves.
Continuing to Allow Remote Work
In a Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. (Challenger) survey conducted in April 2020, companies were asked if they would continue to allow their employees to work from home after the crisis is over.
- 28% would allow some employees to work from home permanently.
- 28% would allow all employees to work from home until they felt safe returning to the office.
- 30% would either return to their previous policies or were unsure.
- 9% will require all employees to return to work in the office after the crisis has ended.
In the coming months, and even into 2021, we may see a significant number of employees still working from home. There will likely be a staggered return of employees to the office. But when they do return, the office they return to could be vastly different.
Taking Precautions When Returning to the Office
Employers will be required to implement certain precautions when returning to the office. These will likely range from more frequent cleaning schedules to requiring face masks to be worn to restrictions on how many people can be in a single room at one time.
In their survey, Challenger asked over 300 companies what precautions they’re considering implementing, with the following responses:
- 88.6% – Providing their employees with sanitizing products.
- 85.7% – Maintaining social distancing protocols.
- 84.6% – Regular deep cleaning of the office.
- 78.9% – Limiting or prohibiting gatherings in shared spaces, i.e. conference rooms, break rooms, or lunchrooms.
- 59.4% – Limiting or excluding visitors.
- 53.7% – Providing and/or requiring workers to wear masks.
- 45.1% – Surveying workers to see if they had or have any risk of exposure.
- 40.6% – Taking the temperature of workers upon their arrival to work.
- 30.3% – Providing and/or requiring workers to wear gloves.
The future of work, post-COVID-19, might not include parts of office life and culture that we’re all used to. Company-wide meetings could be cut or moved completely over to Zoom. Company celebrations, such as birthdays or work anniversaries, could cease altogether. Even bringing in lunch for everyone and congregating in a common area could be a thing of the past.
As companies solidify their policies and plans for this next phase of returning to the workplace, communication will be key. It will be important for companies to communicate openly with their employees about changes taking place and to encourage them to voice any concerns, challenges, and offer their input. We must remember – we’re all in this together!
- “Future of Work After COVID-19: The End of Office Parties?” Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., 5 May 2020.
- Margolies, Jane. “What Will Tomorrow’s Workplace Bring? More Elbow Room, for Starters.” The New York Times, 7 April 2020.
Find Your Next Success
Have a staffing or payrolling need? Reach out to J. Kent Staffing today to fill your company's need!