Since 2020, the COVID19 pandemic has disrupted the ways we live and work. Teleworking has been one of the widespread disruptive effects of the healthcare crisis. Following the pandemic outbreak, many governments and enterprises worldwide put in place massive work from home policies.
This led to an unprecedented number of remote workers:
According to a recent report from Upwork, over 55% of the American workforce worked from home in 2020-2021.
During the last couple of months this trend has been reversed, as COVID19 measures are gradually lifted. As reported by security company Kastle systems, more than one third (i.e. 34%) of the workers are already back in large office buildings.
This number varies across US cities:
They range from approx. 20% in New York and San Francisco (which are the cities with the lowest occupancy), to nearly 50% in cities like Dallas, Houston and Austin.
Likewise, in the UK, there is clear evidence that workers are gradually returning to office. In July 2021, the public transportation traffic around the city of London and Canary Wharf hit record levels since the beginning of the pandemic.
Despite the lifting of several COVID19 restrictions, the health risks from the pandemic are far from over.
Most organizations must comply with governmental and regulatory mandates regarding return to office during the COVID19 era.
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides COVID19-related safety information about office buildings. The information includes guidelines for ensuring a safe and healthy workplace for employees and clients. The guidelines are addressed to office building employers, building owners, facilities managers, and operations specialists.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor has also published a guide on preparing workplaces for COVID19. The guide is not legally binding for employers and facilities managers, but provides a set of actionable recommendations for ensuring workplace safety during the pandemic.
In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) agency is regularly publishing information and guidelines for secure and safe workplaces. HSE’s guidance covers England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in ways that take into account the peculiarities of the different regions. It also provides guidelines for both employers and workers.
Despite the need to consider the COVID19 situation in different countries and to address various stakeholders (e.g., employers, facilities managers, workers), there are many commonalities in the recommendations of the various agencies:
With COVID19 around, enterprises are taking measures and precautions to ensure that the employees’ return to the office is safe and effective. Safeguarding worker health and well-being is now a top priority for most organizations. In their quest towards creating and implementing policies for safe return to work, they can rely on guidelines from local and national authorities.
Follow this blog for a peek of our future!
* By subscribing to our newsletter, you agree to receive digital communications. You may withdraw this consent at any time.
One of Norway’s leading oil and gas exploration and production companies is setting the benchmark in their..
This article is part of the Disruptors Series, a special edition of our blog where thought leaders contribute..