We’ve recently asked our clients and associates their views on the effects of the pandemic and how it might change their approach to work in the future. Overall, respondents were cautious about the speed at which employees would return to work from the office post Covid-19 lockdown. 81% of the London-based companies are planning a phased return to work approach, enabling employees to re-enter the workplace gradually, in stages.
All businesses confirmed that they intend or, otherwise, had already put precautions in place to prevent the risk of a second outbreak, in compliance with government issued health and safety guidelines, and visits to business premises would be conducted in line with social distancing regulations. Common measures include making personal protective equipment (PPE) available to staff (54%), increased hygiene measures including frequent cleaning and supplying hand sanitisers (45%), installing safety screens (36%) and enforcing staggered work times (18%).
In terms of working patterns it seems 63% of respondents already have members of staff who are back in their office, but a significant proportion, 27%, are not expecting to return before September and the reminder 9% are unlikely to return to the office in 2020 altogether.
After having to embrace remote working, a significant proportion of respondents have reconsidered how much space they will need in the future. 9% said they have had to downsize their workplace as a result of Covid-19 and a further 18% see it possible to reduce their office space in the next 6 to 12 months as a consequence.
The ways in which people travel to work was also of concern. The majority of London offices, 54%, already have adequate bike storage in place and a further 36% are able to make arrangements to accommodate employees looking to cycle to work as an alternative to using public transport.
The pandemic is likely to cause a permanent increase in remote working even after lockdown. A staggering 55% of organisations expect half or more of their workforce to continue working from home in the long run. With this huge change in remote working capacities, businesses will need to make sure they can support their employees adequately, and so many will move to more flexible, modern workplace models.
Overall, insights gathered from companies paint a cautious picture and changes to working patterns seem very likely with a move to greater flexibility in the form of working from home, reduced travel and, in some cases, reduced office space.
As an expert IT managed service provider, Wavex Technology advises not only its clients but all London business to plan for the necessary IT support arrangements well in advance. Follow this quick back-to-work IT checklist for an overview of practical measures you should take.