Keeping everyone safe as we prepare to return to workplaces

Keeping everyone safe as we prepare to return to workplaces
Home Insights Keeping everyone safe as we prepare to return to workplaces


‘Same approach, different challenge’

As a country we have been operating under COVID restrictions for over a year and during this, we have learnt many valuable lessons in adapting the way we work. As the country gets ready to return to a degree of normality and we see offices begin to reopen, it is important that everyone feels safe and secure.

Throughout the last year, many businesses have adapted to a new way of operating and as the rollout of the COVID vaccine intensifies, we will see more workers return to offices across the country.

We may not return to work in the same way we once did, but now is the opportunity for businesses to adapt their offices, work smarter and put in place measures that allow their people to collaborate and work in a safe environment. This is where we can help

Five step plan for managing the safe return to the workplace

Managing workspace is our norm

For us, managing the workplace requirements that have resulted from operating in COVID safe environments has become the norm. Proactively reviewing estates and property portfolios in order to help our clients effectively operate their workspaces has become increasingly important in post-COVID workplaces.

We work closely with our clients to understand what they need from their office requirements post-COVID to developing tailored solutions that will help them to run their businesses in the most profitable way, introduce new tools and techniques that improve efficiency, address barriers to productivity that will lead to the gradual reoccupation of buildings.

For example, we’re very experienced in using the SFG30 standard that manages the shutdown and subsequent reactivation of buildings. As a step-by-step guide to maintaining building services during closure, such as keeping ventilation systems clean and clear and fire safety systems in good working shape, it facilitates a very quick and effective process for reopening.

Throughout the pandemic, we have continued to collaborate with our clients to understand their buildings and plant better with our Internet of Things (IoT) technology partners. IoT technology enables us to analyse data in real time to help determine achievable optimal performance and opportunities for improvement and energy savings.

Social distancing solutions

Making physical office spaces safe is vitally important in stopping the spread of COVID-19. We have all become accustomed to maintaining social distancing in our everyday lives and as offices prepare to reopen post lockdown, we must change our usual work habits to reflect everyday life and ensure the safety of our colleagues.

We are well placed to help clients affect change in staff behaviours through transition plans that seek to change habits, introduce new protocols and adapt building layouts to create safe working spaces.

Prioritising mental health

With many changes happening over the last year and the national lockdowns and restrictions that have been in place throughout, it is easy to forget about our mental health and well-being.

Understandably, with a lot of people working remotely, isolation and loneliness can be a real concern. We need to make sure we check in with friends and colleagues regularly. Please do consider picking up the phone to speak to someone and be the support that someone may need in these challenging times. As we get closer to offices opening, some employees may also feel anxious about returning to a shared working space. To combat this, it is crucial that employers establish a constant and open dialogue with their staff. Outlining any new procedures and listening to all concerns will reassure the workforce that their mental wellbeing as much as their physical safety is being protected.

Wates’ Stay Safe Strategy

Like our peers in the FM world, we are poised and ready to help the UK’s businesses manage a safe return to work. We’ve created our own ‘Stay Safe Strategy’ by way of guidelines not only for our own employees but our clients and their people to ensure that buildings are prepared to receive returning workforces within a highly changed environment. However, our distinctive standpoint is a highly bespoke and consultative approach to this process, delivered by a team of experts. We don’t profess to have all our FM services in house and nor do we want to; we want the agility to assess the marketplace for the very latest innovations and best-fit suppliers that meet the needs of our clients in the most cost effective way.