Whilst England’s Plan B measures set to end from next week – many businesses are looking forward to welcoming their employees back to the workplace, for good. 

Whilst some companies have adopted a permanent remote or hybrid working policy, many organisations are excited to see the back of the work from home guidance and are romanticising a full return to normal.

Is it too soon? Possibly, but only time will tell. With mask-wearing and COVID passes out the window, it may well be up to the individual in terms of how comfortable they are with COVID policy on these items in the workplace. 

With a few companies announcing a change in policy when it comes to sick pay for the unvaccinated, whilst a return to normal may be the goal, it may well be that post-pandemic office spaces and workplaces look very different to before coronavirus entered our lives.

How can you prepare for the ‘big return’?

  1. Make sure your workspace is suitable for employees to return

If you haven’t been in the office since the pandemic hit, it’s time to review whether your current office space is fit for purpose. Whether you need to look at alternative office solutions that provide a more flexible approach, or whether you just need to re-assess your current office layout to accommodate everyone coming back together under one roof, it’s something you’ll need to plan for.

With covid-19 putting a huge emphasis on hygiene as well as personal space, it’s worth scrapping a hot-desking set-up or at least creating a solid rota so that spaces can be cleaned down and prepared for the next person to use. Having cleaning equipment and disinfectant to hand for change over is recommended and where possible, good ventilation. Less of packing teams into a room for a meeting and more open plan meetings where possible. It’s mindful to include communal areas such as kitchens, toilets and lounge spaces to be considered when it comes to a new cleaning regime.

  1. Checking in with each employee

You’ll want to make sure your employees are happy to commit to coming back to the office full time. Making sure they have the support they need for that transition and where possible – offer a flexible working solution. Do they need to be in the office every single day or would a couple of days a week suffice? Now is the time to do the research and reassess what working solutions would work best for your business and your employees.

  1. Be realistic

Whilst it’s great that restrictions are easing and a return to ‘normal’ is on the cards, be realistic. As we’ve learned over the last two years, things change and often. Keep an eye on the news, be aware of the things happening and make sure your business is set up to adapt and respond to changes where necessary, in a way that you’re protected. Have your own Plan B if it helps keep everyone in the loop with what to do if coronavirus becomes an issue in your workplace.