The pandemic has showed us a new way of working as we all moved indoors and began working from home. However, as the government gives the all clear about people returning to offices, this has given rise to the concept of ‘hybrid working’. For employers, it is still a tentative time with Covid-19 still rife in many communities and with the government ready to place measures to curb the rise of cases. In our latest blog, we’re outlining steps employers need to take to ensure a Covid-19 secure workplace.
What the numbers say
An ONS survey found that 46.6% of employees worked from home at least some of the time during the pandemic, compared to the 5% prior. In fact, YouGov research shows that the majority of workers would like to continue to work from home at least some of time following the peak of the pandemic.
What is hybrid working?
Hybrid working is a model of flexible working that allows employees to combine working in an office with working remotely e.g. at home. However, hybrid working is more than just the location at which a worker will split their time. It can also refer to flexible start and finish times to avoid busy public traffic times, and even flexible days of working to account for child minding.
What are the benefits of hybrid working?
There are a number of benefits for employees of hybrid working including a better work-life balance, ability to focus on work (without distractions), reduced commuting time and costs, and increased motivation. Hybrid working is not just beneficial to employees, but also employers in as much as the cost savings on a physical office space, higher employee engagement levels, lower turnover levels, lower absence rates, reduced environmental impact, encouraging diversity and inclusion, and not to mention supporting employee wellbeing.
What steps should an employer take to make hybrid working safe?
Here are the top things to follow so that your employees can return to the office safely:
- Make sure you properly assess your office space before any staff return to the space. This can include making sure that heating, windows, doors and any appliances are all in working order.
- Ensure that if you are returning to the office that you are following all government guidelines surrounding Covid-19 and the workplace. Visit the Working Safely site for up to date guidance.
- Make sure that desks are at least 1 metre apart and that there is enough social distance between employees. You should also make sure whilst rearranging the space that there are no trailing wires or cables that could be a trip hazard.
- Make sure you encourage employees to wear masks around communal areas like the bathroom, unless they are eating, drinking, or sitting at their desk
- Utilise ventilation where possible. This could mean opening a window in the summer months or open doors during the winter
- Make sure there are plenty of antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer available.
What does this mean for the future?
Covid-19 has presented an opportunity for employers to review and evolve their working arrangements following the experiences of working from home during the pandemic. In fact, many employers have already seen benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely, in terms of productivity and worker happiness.
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