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The State of Work Post-COVID-19: Going Back to the Office

Navigating the coronavirus pandemic and its fallout will prove to be one of the biggest challenges of our time. Even before the breakout has ended, we can see that work post-COVID-19 won’t ever be the same. To keep doing business while reducing the risk to employees, the majority of companies have found ways to adapt to this new normal, leaving their offices, stores, and factories nearly empty.

To some, this has proven that remote work can yield great results, prompting them to wonder whether working from home forever is a viable option. Well, if you ask Twitter, the answer is a resounding yes. We are yet to see whether other brands will decide to follow in Twitter’s footsteps and allow their employees to decide whether they want to work in the office. 

Of course, in one of our previous articles, we shed some light on businesses that have decided to extend their work-from-home policies. Companies like Facebook and Google are leading the way and encouraging remote work until the end of the year.

However, as countries are easing lockdown measures, working from home isn’t the only option anymore. Presidents around the world, including Donald Trump, are pleading for companies to reopen their premises. The time to rebuild the economy is now.

In our follow-up article, we’ll discuss three companies returning to the office and see their strategies. But before we get started, let’s see how work has changed during the coronavirus outbreak.

Working During COVID-19

The pandemic has affected many of our habits, but the workplace still remains the most disrupted area. The majority of us have been confined to our homes. Here, we had to find ways to continue business as usual although miles away from our offices. And, by all accounts, we should be proud of ourselves as we’ve made it work.

According to software company Box, the first ‘casualties’ of the work-from-home policies have been the traditional 9-5 working hours. The company revealed that workdays are changing. To be specific, working outside of the working hours has increased by 20%. Of course, experts say that this is the result of the changes to our daily routines. Nevertheless, it’s another sign of the pandemic’s influence.

Unsurprisingly though, Box states that digital collaboration has gone through the roof. This is particularly visible in the public sector whose collaboration has grown by 142%.

The coronavirus has also affected our screen time. This doesn’t come as a surprise either. After all, to continue working we need digital communication tools, including Zoom and Slack. In fact, at one point, the demand for video conferencing apps was so high that these apps reached 62 million downloads. Mind you, this was only during the week March 14-21.

Will these changes still be in effect for work post-COVID-19? Let’s see what experts have to say.

Long-Term Changes?

Are the above-mentioned changes going to stick around even when most countries ease lockdown measures? Well, CoreNet Global suggests that the corporate world strongly believes that employees are set to return to their offices. However, this will likely happen in waves (as is the case with one of the companies we’ll mention later).

Furthermore, the survey discovered that 84% of real estate professionals decided to stagger the return of workers to the office. Namely, the first employees to go back will be those who have the greatest need to be in an office setting. Their opinion echoes that of Facebook. The social media giant has decided that the first wave will encompass critical employees, i.e. those working on complex software.

Inevitably, this return will lead to changes in work patterns. Specifically, 72% of respondents revealed that they would impose additional cleaning protocols, thus emphasizing the need for hand-washing. Some managers said their plan was to reduce the number of employees in the office at any one time.

So, let’s now see which companies are set to return to work post-COVID-19 and some of their strategies to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Apple

Companies around Silicon Valley have been altering their work-from-home strategies in the light of the novel coronavirus. Some of them are informing employees that they can still work remotely even when the crisis subsides. However, one tech giant has decided to adopt a different approach.

In break from rivals, Apple is planning to return the majority of its employees to its global offices in the upcoming months. Working from home will stop being the new normal for this technology company soon.

Apart from offices, Apple also plans to open some of its retail stores around the world, which it closed on March 14. Apparently, it will do this in Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, and South Carolina in the third week of May. Employees in these stores will undergo temperature checks and be required to wear masks — these are just some of the necessary precautions for work post-COVID-19.

Since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, Apple has made it possible for a select group of employees to work in their offices. This is because certain roles, such as deploying software, managing data centers, and hardware testing, are almost impossible to perform from home. Therefore, as such, Apple considers them business critical.

Ever since the announcement, people have been wondering what kind of strategies Apple will employ to reduce the risk to employees. Let’s have a look at some of them.

Apple’s Strategies for Work Post-COVID-19

By this summer, the iPhone maker hopes to have all of its employees back to its offices. However, this return will be executed in phases. The first phase will encompass staff members who are unable to work remotely or are facing challenges while at home. This phase has already started in some regions. But it will expand to other major offices during May and June.

Additionally, the second phase, which will begin in July, will return the majority of employees to Apple’s offices around the world. The tech company is yet to determine the exact timelines as it has to take into consideration the local and state stay-at-home orders.

The first round of employees going back to offices will likely be those working on hardware development. During remote work, Apple hasn’t been able to work on its future hardware initiatives like virtual-reality and augmented-reality headsets. But, with the end of the work-from-home policy, the company will be able to continue these developments.

Back in April, Apple CEO Tim Cook informed the staff that the return to work would be staggered. Cook said that the company didn’t evision “everyone going back” at once. So, during the first phase, employees will either work from the office regularly or only for certain periods. Of course, Apple will take every precautionary measure to protect its staff.

Brid.TV

At Brid.TV, the well-being of our employees is the most important thing for us. For this reason, we wanted to do our part and help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. So, since March 1, our employees have been diligently working from home while still showing the drive to upgrade our video platform for our publishers. Throughout the pandemic, we have held meetings online and we have seen no negative consequences on our team’s efficiency.

We want to personally thank them for demonstrating a commitment to our company and helping us grow and reach the very summit of online video advertising.

With our employees’ safety in mind, we have been closely following all national guidelines. As we have been able to conduct businesses remotely, we decided to postpone returning to work for long as it took. However, with our country easing lockdown measures, the time has come to meet our colleagues and see their smiling faces in our office!

Therefore, we are happy to say that, starting from May 18, it will be business as usual for Brid.TV as well, albeit with a lot of safety measures imposed.

Brid.TV’s Strategies for Work Post-COVID-19

As we see the risk from the coronavirus reducing, we still feel compelled to do our best to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. This is why we have developed certain strategies that will keep our employees safe once they return back to work.

After a lot of consideration, we’ve decided to stagger the return of employees to the office. This means that going back to work will be executed in phases. The first phase, starting from May 18, will see a part of our team (team one) working from the office for a week, while the other part (team two) will still be working from home. We’ve opted for this step so as to ensure minimal contact.

Additionally, during the second phase, our employees will switch. So, our team two will work from the office, while team one will go back to working from home. They will switch until June 15 when we expect all of our employees to return to work.

Of course, these are not the only measures we are taking for work post-COVID-19. Brid.TV will supply our employees with the necessary protective equipment, including gloves and masks that they will wear while on site. We have also limited the number of people who can be in the same room at any one time.

During these two phases, Brid.TV will continue to monitor the situation and our national guidelines.

Tesla

Another big name in the corporate world is going back to office.

After months of careful consideration, Tesla has started to resume operations. With this in mind, the electric vehicle company has released a restart plan, highlighting its commitment to keeping its employees safe. The plan is modeled after Tesla’s return to work plan used at its Shanghai Gigafactory. This plan has a proven track record as it has enabled Tesla to carry out operations smoothly.

What’s more, the company’s USA workers are set to go back to work in the third week of May. So, it will soon be business as usual for this giant that has suffered unfortunate consequences because of the pandemic. Specifically, it had to furlough 12,000 due to COVID-19. Not only that, but also it reduced salaries for those who remained.

Now, work post-COVID-19 will look like this at Tesla. Every member of the staff must complete an online video training if they want to return to work at Tesla’s facilities. Also, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that a team of experts have been establishing health and safety guidelines to protect employees.

Furloughed employees will not return to work just yet.

Tesla’s Strategies for Work Post-COVID-19

To navigate return to work post-COVID-19, Tesla has released a playbook, advising employees how to behave within its facilities.

So, the staff will have designated entrances and exits to prevent too many employees being in close contact. Upon entry, everyone needs to use hand sanitizers and practice good hygiene. One of the control measures will also be temperature screenings before and after entering the premises.

In addition, the staff will have to carefully examine factory layout to see how they will be spread out across Tesla’s 6 million square foot facility. Lastly, to prevent too many people in one space, the company has reduced break room capacities. And only a specific number of people can be in the same room at once.

Business as Usual

So, there you have it. After months of strict lockdown measures, the time has come to go back to work. Of course, all the companies we’ve mentioned will still follow national guidelines and do their part to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus.

What team are you on? Work from home or return to the office? If you have any thoughts on this topic, please don’t hesitate to contact us as we’d love to hear from you!

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