The Post Pandemic Office
By Michel Ouellette JMD, ll.l., ll.m.
Finally going back to the office, do not expect it to look exactly how you left it.
Finally going back to the office, do not expect it to look exactly how you left it. Employers are working to implement all kinds of changes to protect their employees in this new age of social distancing. There is likely going to be more space between desks, added partitions and sanitation stations, plus new rules on the use of common areas, meetings and where and how to keep your food.
Desks are going to have to be separated to allow for social distancing. Higher partitions and privacy panels will help create more protection between workers. There will be friendly reminders of social distancing, like a six-foot rug or a taped-off area behind desks to show the appropriate distance to stand when asking a colleague a question.
How you move throughout the office will also change. Companies might add furniture like big bookshelves or indoor trees to help direct the flow of foot traffic and create physical distancing barriers. Certain hallways or stairs could be designated as one-way to help prevent bottlenecks or workers getting too close.
There will be disinfectants and hand sanitizers scattered around the office, but you can also expect to see cleaning crews coming throughout the day. Stickers detailing the last time of cleaning will help workers know that a meeting room is safe to enter.
Many employers will opt to close spaces that encourage gathering, including kitchens. The risk is too high for germs to spread. The less touching, the better.
Companies are going to have stricter requirements for workwear. More than half of essential businesses are currently allowing personal protective equipment in their uniforms, including gloves and face masks.
Michel Ouellette JMD, ll.l., ll.m.
Systemic Strategic Planning, Crisis & Reputation Management