Preparing for the return to work

Remote working has become the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many businesses having to adapt their working practices in order to function. However, lockdown won’t last forever, and employers should be considering how to prepare their workforce for the return to the office.

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1. Not just a luxury

In 2019, only 30 percent of UK employees worked from home. Remote working was generally seen as a bonus, but this is likely to change.

The changes required in response to COVID-19 have offered real insights into the future of UK business.  The truth is that employees can still be just as productive at home, the flexibility of home working can improve work / life balance, and there are a number of clear financial benefits in terms of reducing both office and travel costs. As such, business leaders should consider whether this new approach to working could play an important role in the company, even after lockdown ends.

2. Time for change

Now that the benefits of remote working have been highlighted on a countrywide scale, the opportunity to take a brand-new approach to the workplace has arisen. However, to successfully embrace this change, businesses should evaluate their processes so far.

By carrying out an internal survey, or seeking the help of a professional, companies can discover any weaknesses in resources or communication before post-lockdown initiatives are introduced.

3. Technological transformation

To allow people to work from home effectively, many businesses have had to make technological investments. For example:

  • Online collaboration tools to make sure colleagues and clients can stay connected
  • Cloud-based solutions to ensure databases are accessible from anywhere
  • If flexible working is to continue after lockdown, businesses should now assess the effectiveness of these processes and consider whether further investment is necessary, in order to achieve the best results.
4. Offering support

As well as technology, individuals may also need emotional support. Regular check-ins can identify any concerns they might have about returning to the office, allowing changes to be made with employees in mind. This could include offering flexible working hours for those still juggling other commitments, staggering start times for those who use public transport, or providing the option to work from home for part of the week.

5. New beginnings

Remote working requires an initial investment, both in terms of time and technology, but when done right, it offers a host of personal and financial benefits. Business leaders are now faced with an opportunity to welcome these positive changes and take a new approach to working life that could improve both productivity and employee wellbeing.