Like other recruitment agencies across the capital, we’re preparing for when we can move some of our operations back into our Covent Garden office. Like other businesses as lockdown eases, we’re considering how to adjust working practices to make things safe and possible with social distancing. At the same time, we also wanted to find out from employees what they’re thinking and how they’re preparing to go back.
“I’m hoping flexibility will remain”
Alice, who works in the financial sector, told us “I’m really starting to think about how we’ll manage the return to the office. I’m keen to get back, but I’m hoping flexibility will remain for some time yet. My children will be having phased and part-time returns to school and childcare, so being able to work from home will be needed for some time yet.”
Public transport worries
Adam works near Canary Wharf and uses public transport to commute. “Our employer has been collecting information about how we travel to work,” he says. “I appreciate that they’re thinking about this as I’m quite anxious about returning to my usual commute. I’ve bought a face mask, but our employer is considering staggering our working hours to make it possible for us to travel outside of peak times.”
Practicalities and logistics
“I’ve been shopping — online of course!” Laura told us. “I’ve ordered lunch boxes, water bottles, and a bag that I can easily clean. I used to grab food and drinks out all the time at work, but I think that by bringing my lunch and drinks from home, I’ll be able to minimise interaction with others, hopefully reducing my exposure.”
Considering a change
Lee works in a tightly packed office. “I’m not convinced my employer is willing or able to ensure we can socially distance at work,” he admits. “I’ve heard of friends having changes made with screens to shield them, and bigger spaces between desks. My employer has been resentful of lockdown and wants us back in the office, without much regard to our health. I’ve decided to look at other office support jobs in London and find an employer who’s making better changes.”
Striking a balance
Some of London’s PAs have been telling us how their employers are planning a return to the office. “My boss and I have decided that everything that can be done from home will continue to be done so for some time yet,” says Debs. “Things that can’t be done from home so easily, I’ll go into the office for. Management hopes that by us working in this way, there will be fewer people in the office at all times, but that some core functions can get going again.”
We’d love to hear from you about how you’re preparing to go back to work in the office and about the steps you and your employer are putting in place.
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