A Sneak Peek into how the Post Lockdown Offices will look like (5 Mins Read)

As we are getting acclimatized to being more homebound while combating a viral pandemic, we have started to internalize the lockdown that this may be one of the several changes we have to adapt in the coming weeks. With the lockdown being enforced stringently in many cities around the world people are eager to follow the news to understand how they are being affected. The topmost on everyone’s mind is the imminent transition back to the workplace. But the workplace you left is not going to be the same as the workplace you will return to.

Your first-day post lockdown will most likely feel different from the minute you will get up from the bed. The pre-COVID workplace, with its shared desks and common areas designed for “creative collisions,” is getting a makeover for the social distancing era.

Let us imagine the possibilities and project how the future workplaces and practices post lockdown will look like:

Self-Administered COVID-19 reporting to Your Manager

As soon as your wake up, your morning will start with a self-administered COVID-19 test for monitoring the symptoms and temperatures. An App will report the results to your boss automatically without a fail. If all parameters are under check, a half-empty shuttle will transport you to your work which will be a low occupancy workplace. Using Public transport for work will most likely be discouraged companies to avoid contamination.

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Mask, Sanitizers, A Second Health Check-up, Strict Access Control at the Companies will be the norm post lockdown

Everyone in your office will be wearing the mask, carrying portable sanitizers. There will be a second health check-up at the office entrance for COVID symptoms before you gain the final entry in the office. The attendants will strictly control the elevators, the doors, and other common areas to prevent close contacts.

Hygiene Privacy & Strict Social Distancing Protocols

Companies will have strict social distancing policies and protocols in place to be followed religiously at all times. Barring to do so will attract penalties.

One Side Walkways

The route around the office will be one-side walkways or one-way only walkways with a minimum of 6 ft distance between two employees at all the time.

Spaces to sit half empty

The Elevators, formerly jammed pack workstation spaces, Pantry, and another common area to sit half empty. New elevator usage guidelines will be issued to maintain social distancing norms. The workstations will be spaced out and your desk will not sit close to a neighbour as Hygiene Privacy will be the new buzzword. The 50 Sq ft or so space demarcated per person in office may rise to 150 sq ft per person. Naturally, even if the partial workforce is working from home the office’s space requirements may go up.

Takeaways in the food court

The office Food Court, pantry, canteen, or mess will be rearranged as per the ministry of home affairs guidelines on social distancing, and take-aways will be the new normal to avoid overcrowding. Having food with your teammates at a common area may not be allowed anymore. Forget about Communal Coffee Breaks as many companies have already announced the discontinuation of the Buffet Lunch.

Deep Cleaning and Sanitization Policies & more Housekeeping Staff

With Hygiene privacy in place, regular and detailed deep cleaning and sanitization of office spaces will be a regular activity without fail. This means more cleaning and housekeeping staff whether contractual or fulltime.

Wellness Policy shift — from Initiative to Strategy

The companies post lockdown will have a well thought of Wellness strategy in place to ensure the mental and physical well-being of its employees.

So far wellness was a good-to-do Initiative and Intervention in organizations. But now it will be a well thought of strategy and a critical business driver” said Ms. Priyanka Kumar, People’s Strategist, and Organizational Development Specialist. She also said, “ Post introduction of COVID-19 Vaccines, Companies will mandate COVID vaccinations making it compliance under new-wellness policy strategy “.

The companies stand a chance of being isolated from a business if even a single employee’s health is compromised due to COVID-19. The onus of declaring their staff is 100 % COVID-19 free, or 100% vaccinated (post COVID-19 vaccination is developed as per Government approved mandate) will lie upon companies, indicating that it is safe to consume their products or services.

New Transport Policy

The companies will have a new transport policy in place where companies might discourage or even not allow usage of public transport to work to avoid contamination. Rather companies will be arranging their own transport network like company shuttles — cabs and busses, which will transport you to work with social distancing norms in place with your shuttle sitting almost half empty. Companies may also prefer their employees to travel in their own cars.

New Travel Policy

The COVID-19 health scare will have a significant impact at the company’s Travel policies as well. The Companies will discontinue sending their employees to COVID-19 affected regions or countries for work, at least till the time government approved COVID-19 vaccines are developed and it is an absolute necessity.

“Virtual” will replace “Travel” as per Ms. Priyanka Kumar, Corporate HR Professional.

Automation and Technical Collaborations

Enforcing Hygiene Policy, Social Distancing Guidelines, COVID-19 health screening, etc. means more technical collaborations with technologies companies like

Hiring for New Jobs & Roles

To make a transition from pre-COVID to post lockdown era companies have to rethink the entire working experience. This means hiring for new jobs such as:

  • Thermal scanning Staff
  • Elevator attendants and sanitization staff
  • Employees dedicated to monitoring & tracking employees social distancing parameters & health, and
  • Contact Tracers for carrying out contact tracing for employees tested positive for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Specialized Counsellors on Mental Health due to COVID related stress and anxiety and Medical professionals (at least in short term)
  • Change Management Specialists to guide leaderships on fast-changing workplace practices post lockdown.
  • E-learning experts, E-commerce specialists, digital content producers, online security professionals
  • Remote Work HR consultants and recruiters
  • Hiring more freelancers and contractual staff working from home or co-work spaces.

Employee Reorientation Programs Post Lockdown

The employees post lockdown may not like the new normal. The companies have to probably think about what is going through the people’s minds — as everything is disrupted, people may like their offices the way it was earlier. The companies have to give people time to mourn the past, because the companies may not care about it, but people do. Hence companies might think of running Employee Reorientations Programs for reconditioning the minds of its precious human resources.

De-Densification, Satellite Offices, Remote Working & Work from home

Most of the companies will think of de-densification of already crowded Corporate offices by letting the employees operate from local regional offices rather than coming to corporate offices as cross border movement like in Delhi/NCR is still a rare possibility. This will lead to the creation of satellite offices and more virtual teams. Remote Working like Work from home for 33.33 % of employees on a rotational basis is already being floated by many companies and are already in pipeline. This will also help offices to practice social distancing norms effectively as the workforce will be spread across homes, Satellite offices, and corporate offices.

Technology will be the major skill for future employment

The COVID-19 lockdown has forced people and companies to make the best use of technology like net-meetings, virtual conferences, webinars, leveraging various tools and platforms like Zoom, Cisco Webex, Skype, Whatsapp, Facetime, and other Apps for communication. Hence knowledge and knowhow of these basic technologies and platforms will be enabler & qualifier skills rather than being an order winner skill.

People are not going to be comfortable straight away coming back to the office and resuming work, They will be wanting to know if they are going to be safe? It is much clear that it is an evolving work in progress like our response to the pandemic and the challenges it posed. But it is crystal clear that things will change a lot as compared to the offices we abandoned in March 2020. The workplace we all left is not going to be the same as the ones we will report back to. Also, The office of the future will contain whichever new methods make sense for each individual business. But one thing we can say with a degree of certainty: technology will undeniably play an important role in this.

Originally published at https://theeasywisdom.com on May 4, 2020.

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The Easy Wisdom, an online media & holistic lifestyle and wellness portal, is the premier destination for people with sharp, stylish and curious minds.