Teams across facilities, real estate, technology and HR have all been working together to ensure the safety of the workplace in preparation for the 'big return'. Long-term workplace strategies have had to be developed and implemented. A huge part of this is safety and hygiene processes.
Millions of people around the UK have headed back to the office for the first time in 18 moths. Building and facilities managers have spent time making preparations for safe return for their employees. And whilst it is thought that many people are now taking the hybrid working approach, teams across facilities, real estate, technology and HR have all been working together to ensure the safety of the workplace. Long-term workplace strategies have had to be developed and implemented. This has meant that leadership, change management, communication and technology have all played pivotal roles in these dramatic changes.
In many ways, the pandemic has not changed the direction of office evolution, only accelerated it. Employers are under a legal obligation to maintain health and safety provisions and the government has released guidance on how best to ensure employee safety. This includes carrying out risk assessments, reinforcing cleaning practices, maintaining a two metre distance where possible and managing transmission risk where distancing is not possible. While employee behaviour might need to change, the means by which these processes are implemented are in line with many practices developing through office design over the previous decades.
The pandemic, and greater awareness of infections in general, will stay with us for many years. Airborne contagions, whether Covid-19 or the next similar virus, will remain a long-term threat. For the cleaning sector, business models have needed to adjust to reflect the changes in attitude and to meet the new demands.
Cleaning is now considered to be a more essential service than it was prior to the pandemic. But with that comes a heightened expectation. For businesses welcoming back employees and customers, or those who have been able to remain open, the range of cleaning services has had to be enhanced and expectations of quality elevated.