20 Apr Big Returns!
If you worked in an office, life really changed for you during lockdown. It was looking like the change was permanent; a YouGov poll in November 2020 found half of the respondents wanted to work from home every day or most days. But the tide has turned recently: there has been a sharp decline in the number of Britons who prefer to work from home for good.
A more recent poll, however, found that actually 37% preferred to get back to normal, 17% were hoping to combine both options- half their work hours in the office and half from home, and just 24% were keen to continue with exclusively homeworking.
Employee sentiment on this- and a range of practical factors- will drive a big return to work in the coming months. In today’s blog, we look into how to prepare for this as a small business.
Carry out Risk Assessments
The government requires any business with five employees or more to complete a Covid-19 risk assessment. Consider the following: stations for hand sanitising/washing, encouraging social distancing, the use of screens and barriers, staggering shifts, or alternating workdays to keep people physically apart.
Check that any insurance you have is not invalidated for any Covid-related reason. Always safe rather than sorry.
Access Government Business Support
If you haven’t already, check eligibility for any government schemes running and apply for them where it will benefit your business.
Update Online Info
You need to ensure that your website and Google business pages etc are displaying the right information about your opening hours and availability. Don’t forget voicemail recordings too- it doesn’t look good to have outdated ones mentioning Christmas, New Year or the start of lockdown. You’d be surprised how common this is. Use this opportunity to do a general update on your current business offerings too.
Ensure you have emailed or otherwise informed your suppliers and customer base that you will be going back to your office. Social media accounts are another way to create awareness, for example: post photos of your return to the office; and promote new services or new products under the banner of a reopening.
These are rapidly changing times, so be conscious that official rules and edicts may change, and staff may have health concerns that create bumps in the road. Keep the objective of a return to work steadfast but be open to minor detours along the way! So much of this journey is unprecedented.
Consolidate any Positive Changes
Over the last year, your business might have started making new online offerings which- once your return to the office- you might want to retain as an add-on to what you offered before. Ensure your contacts and customer base know what is staying virtual and what is not, and where alternatives exist.
Build Your Team
This will be an emotionally and physically taxing time for many employees, adjusting to another big shift in lifestyle patterns. Be flexible, positive, encouraging, and to avoid misunderstandings always keep communication channels open. Good HR depends on transparent messages being conveyed. Team building is important too- a lot of the social element has been missed during lockdown and needs rebuilding.
The big return is happening all around us as lockdown eases. As ever, we are here and can help with the practicality of office space, telephone answering, and meeting room hire. We wish our clients and contacts the best of luck in navigating this new path with success.
Here at Mantle Ltd we offer serviced offices, virtual office and meeting rooms at our Business Centre in Wokingham, Berkshire. For any queries email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0118 977 8599