Go to work, don’t go to work... go to the office, don’t go to the office. The recent back and forth in advice makes it very difficult to anticipate what the final outcomes and duration of the second wave of Covid-19 will be. But preparing for a safe return to the office is vital because it will happen sooner or perhaps, more likely, later.
There are obvious things to consider when bringing people back together in the work environment. Safe distancing of desks, increased cleaning and sanitising, guidance on behaviour in meetings and communal areas and much more.
Full details on what you need to consider can be found on the Government’s website.
But what about the employees themselves? Experiences through lockdown will have caused individuals to have their own concerns and perhaps mental health issues. This could include worries around returning to shared work environments, including the commute as well as being in the office itself.
Recent research carried out by Zurich Insurance showed 59 % of workers would still prefer to be at home for over half their working week. This compares to only 10 per cent pre-pandemic. Similar research by the British Council for Offices found only 30% of workers said they were considering returning to the office for five days a week and 15% wanted to remain exclusively at home. This is a huge and possibly permanent change from pre-lockdown practices.
In September, studies reported in The Guardian found that 45% of staff had started to return to offices in some form or another. This was before Boris Johnson revised his message on working from home if at all possible, which undoubtedly raised more questions in the minds of workers over ongoing safety from Covid-19.
Mitrefinch, a workforce provider, took a look at Google UK search data analysis in the early stages of lockdown and found searches for ‘do I have to go back to work?’ rose by a staggering 4,000 %. The search term ‘fear of returning to work’ also rose by 200 %. Given the recent increases in positive case numbers, this concern on returning to work is not going away anytime soon.
So, it’s clear from the research, when considering how to prepare the office and your employees for a return to a work location, you need to address their fears over personal safety as well.
Using public transport remains a concern for many people. Even if it is well run and organised. Which means more employees will be considering using their cars as the main point of transportation if they need to go back into work.
In doing so, there will be an increase in demand for parking spaces close to their destination. There may also be increased health concerns around using cash or payment machines that are open to the public.
One safer way around this problem is to use parking apps such as JustPark to find and book employee spaces. With better access to local parking spaces, employees have a greater choice in their travel arrangements and less concerns about using public transport.
JustPark has access to lots of different parking spaces, from public and private car parks to driveways. And we specialise in having extra spaces available in high density population areas. This means there’s likely to be a space near to most offices, many of which are available with long term booking options.
As an employer you can help your employees further by setting up a business account with us. This provides you with the ability to centrally manage or allow individuals to book parking for your business needs. You can do this in advance or on site via our phone app.
Using our app will reduce the stress of driving into work and by removing the need for paying by cash or using Pay and Display machines, this will all contribute to an increased sense of safety when employees do need to return to work.
More details on JustPark business accounts can be found here.
So when considering how best to support your employees return to work in the safest way possible, putting in place help for their travel to and from the office should definitely be on your agenda of action items!