With more than 100 million Americans vaccinated, many companies are starting to bring their full roster of employees back to the office. An Office Re-entry Index polled 350 CEOs, COOs, HR and finance leaders on their sentiments about returning to in-person work. The majority of respondents planned to have employees back in the office by fall 2021, with 70 percent stating they plan to phase employees back in gradually. As these teams transition back into the office, many will notice a lot has changed — from their environment to safety protocols to the flexibility of their schedule.
The Gwendolyn, the first office building of the re-envisioned Glen Lennox redevelopment, was built to exceed best practices for workplace health and safety. A state-of-the-art HVAC system that uses Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization technology was installed in this office. Surpassing LEED standards, the technology cleans the air naturally and reduces particulates, pathogens, mold spores, viruses and odors to improve indoor air quality while reducing energy costs up to 30 percent. This particular unit uses MERV 13 air filters and has air side economizers that transition to 100 percent outside air when conditions outside become cooler and dryer.
To reduce contact with shared surfaces, touchless entry systems are installed on all doors at the Gwendolyn and visitors can pre-register for auto check in. Tall ceilings and ample open spaces both indoors and out allow people to keep a comfortable distance.
How to Get Your Team Ready to Come Back to the Office
Just as the move to working from home was an abrupt adjustment, workers will need to transition back to office and their old routine. It is important to communicate the safety measures your office is implementing and any new protocols it has instated, such as hand sanitizer stations, closure of water fountains, guidance on masks or required spacing between desks. Knowing that your company is taking extra measures will go a long way towards everyone feeling safe at the office.
Types of Hybrid Schedules to Consider
While many employees missed their daily interaction with their teams, they also recognized the perks of working from home, like increased flexibility and the time they saved not commuting. Companies that maintained productivity during the pandemic can offer hybrid schedules that bring teams together in the office to nurture collaboration and the corporate culture, but also allow working from home as a benefit to their staff.
A cohort schedule brings employees in on set days or weeks to provide predictability. The most common method is to schedule one cohort to come in Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and a second cohort to work on-site Tuesday and Thursday, or to alternate every other week.
Another option is for managers to set their team’s schedule. This can ensure the right people are in the office at the same time for important projects or key client meetings. Companies who allow employees to set their own schedule will lose some predictability, but the enhanced flexibility for the individuals can be beneficial for retaining talent.
New Office Space
Remote working altered how many companies are looking at their footprint. If your organization is considering changing its office space, be sure to check out the LEED-certified Gwendolyn, conveniently located in the Glen Lennox neighborhood.