A quick framework for figuring out who needs to be in the workplace at any given moment during the ‘new normal’.
You’ve heard of the idea of a country’s President and Vice-President never travelling on the same aircraft. If the aircraft goes down, somebody needs to run the country.
Similarly, certain people or teams in the organisation might need to remain separated until the COVID-19 threat has fully abated, as they are the only ones who can carry out a particular job. If an organisation is responsible for important processes – electrical engineers who develop, maintain and manage a town’s electricity supply, for example – a plan must be developed to ensure continuity of expertise in the event of a local spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Some businesses, such as professional services and engineering firms, are creating a red team and a blue team. Each comprises a set of partners or executives, the professional staff who work under them, and the admin staff who support them. Each team will come to the office on different days, with the office thoroughly, professionally cleaned prior to each group’s arrival. If one team is infected, the other can ensure business continuity. Another added bonus is more space in the office, and therefore greater opportunity for social distancing.
This is an excerpt from ELMO’s new eBook ‘How to Make the ‘New Normal’ Great: Developing a successful return-to-the-workplace strategy’. To read the full eBook download it here.
Do the floor-space maths
If staff are required to stay 1.5 metres apart from each other in all directions, or they require four square metres each, how much useable floor space does your business offer and how many staff will it safely fit?
An analysis should be conducted not only of floor space in office areas, but also in gathering spaces such as kitchens, rec rooms, breakout rooms, bathrooms and more.
How much separation can be achieved if a renovation is carried out? If desks are moved around, partitions are erected, exhibition spaces are converted to office space, etc., can staff be accommodated more safely?
This is where the input of the Facilities Management team can be of great value [see the eBook for more information about what this team does]. With their help, it may be possible to identify where the business can gain floor space to make the office safer for staff.
Which people/teams should be together?
Particularly in organisations that have encouraged hot-desking – an idea that is now very much out of favour – there is a powerful opportunity to rethink the way business units communicate.
Just as departments that were previously disparate, such as sales, marketing and customer service, have been brought together through digital transformation, so they too can be brought physically closer to benefit staff, the organisation and its customers/clients.
Departments that over the past decade have become increasingly central to the success of organisations, such as IT and HR, might now be physically placed more centrally. Another option is that teams of specific levels of people, such as executives, senior managers, line managers, etc., of different departments could be placed in the same area to encourage greater communication between those departments, which in turn might encourage greater collaboration and innovation.
This is an opportunity for reinvention. It is a chance to cast off the old and welcome the new. However, it should only be conducted after careful consideration of the matrix [outlined in the eBook], and its potential effect on staff who have concerns for their health and who may also be suffering change fatigue.
This is just a snippet of the new eBook from ELMO on the return to the workplace. The full eBook will guide you through the makings of an effective return-to-work-the-workplace plan, and includes helpful checklists, a template for measuring engagement, top-line lessons, and much more.