When is the right time to return to work after lockdown?
Updated: Sep 30
Melbourne CBD became a ghost town during the pandemic. Offices dropped to a five per cent occupancy rate during the height of the pandemic and are only expected to rebound to 50 per cent by July.
There are a few questions that need to be addressed:
- How will offices allow for social distancing?
- Will employees want to return to a shared environment?
How will offices look after the pandemic?
Anywise operates in a co-working environment, and before the pandemic employees were free to work in the confines of the Anywise office or move to another desk in the open floor plan. While shared working spaces have become popular in recent years, they can become a breeding ground for germs if people start sharing bathrooms, kitchens and pressing lift buttons again.
How will commuting to work change?
The way we commute may never be the same post-pandemic. In London, Tube capacity is predicted to reduce by 15 per cent to allow people to maintain distance between themselves and other passengers. The Melbourne City Council is creating more room for cyclists and pedestrians so people feel more comfortable getting around the city.
There’s already been a huge rise in bike sales since the pandemic and the Italian government is drawing up plans in its upcoming stimulus package to give people 200 euros if they purchase an electric bike or scooter. Anywise welcomes an eco-friendlier way of getting to work for their employees.
Will employees feel comfortable returning to work?
The thought of returning to an office environment will divide staff in many businesses. Some people will have adapted to their home office set up and find that it makes it easier for them to juggle their other commitments (eg. children, pets). Other employees may have found working from home challenging due to living in a small apartment and feeling cramped.
As restrictions ease, Anywise will continue to follow the Government’s advice and won’t be forcing any staff members to return to the office who may feel uncomfortable doing so. One thing that many people miss about working in an office environment though, is the social interaction with co-workers which can’t be replicated through Slack, Google Meet or Zoom. Restaurants and cafés are set to reopen on June 1 with a 20-person limit, giving people a chance to reconnect.
As a Flex-able certified employer, we treat all of our adult stakeholders as adults and encourage them to make safe and responsible decisions about where and when they work. Provided they are aware of their responsibilities and the workplaces they operate in compliance with the Government advice, then they are welcome to return to the workplace when it is safe to do so.