Returning to a Safe and Healthy Office Work Environment Blog Series: The New Normal

Ferris wheel

By Brie DeLisi

Have the last few months felt like a rollercoaster? It is time for us to embrace the new normal, in which nothing is ‘normal’ anymore. This blog series will explore options for returning to the office (or not), what the new workplace might look like, and how to best prepare for what might be a long period of uncertainty.

For the physical work environments, we’ll need to consider how to best structure the new office, or whether we want our workforce to return to an office setting at all. The key to approaching this process is to identify options and the flexibility within those options. Asking ourselves ‘what if’ for every plan that we build in order to conduct the highest level of risk management for the workforce. In later blogs, we’ll explore in depth how to approach each phase of this strategy.

The most important aspect of these transitions will be communication and engagement with our workforce. Change is difficult and uncertainty creates a host of emotional responses that impact productivity. Engaging employees in the transition process will be helpful from several perspectives to ultimately support a safe and health work environment.

As for the future – these unprecedented events have opened our eyes to gaps in organizational systems and structures. This is a unique opportunity to find the lessons learned and develop contingency plans for the near and distant future. We can identify gaps and develop solutions to be better prepared for the unexpected.

Future blog posts in this series will include:
• Office Environment Setup
• PPE and Safe Working Procedures
• Preparation for Return - Employee Engagement and Communications
• Remote and Flex Work Options
• Contingency Plan Development