Return to Work - how are different companies tackling it?

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Complying with government guidelines is one thing but who wants their office experience to look like THIS!?

When we return to the office it will be important to demonstrate it is a place people WANT to be.

  • Hazard tape and risk assessments are necessary considerations.

  • However, turning the place into a "policed area" is not going to work.

  • Gartner talk about 3R's which we think is short sighted.

  • The 4th R - Ready is something as a nation and global tribe we were clearly NOT READY.

Covid Office Signoise
Covid Office Signoise

We need to convince the employees to return to work and the workplace, however if it looks like the above then will they?

  • Why risk the travel to work?

  • Will the reception area be covered in signage?

  • will I be greeted by reception areas with screens?

  • Will it feel like breaking in?

  • Has the company got a plan?

  • Will it be a nice place to go to or be in?

  • If they have a plan, what is it, is it credible?

Meanwhile the Corporates have learnt a lot:

  • Do we need the big HQ office in the middle of a city?

  • A City that requires our employees to commute 2/4 hours a day?

  • Burn fossil fuels along the way?

  • Will they resent it?

  • At the very least they will rationalise, why am I going there?

So what are the pundits saying?

Microsoft surveys shows

  • 80% of workers will work from home 1-2 days a week

  • 40% of Workers will work from home 3-4 days a week

Barclays CEO questions

  • Will we need large offices with 7,000 folk in there?

  • Will we still commute?

  • Will we offer car policies?

Deloitte predicts

  • We will remain human in a technology-driven world.

  • We will build a sustainable post-COVID future.

Corporate Real Estate

  • Will downsize Head Office, too many have learnt that technology allows productive working outside the office.

  • We will increasingly embrace technology for collaboration centric buildings.

  • We will have more AI and IoT creating intuitive building workflows with less touch points.

  • We will have technology laden intuitive reception areas, where you can transition quickly.

  • And Smaller meeting rooms with high tech collaboration tools.

  • More "Near Working" , less Home Working than we did at peak Covid times

  • More "Near Working" satellite offices or allowances

The employee

  • Will want to have a reason to go to the office, however, if they are as productive at home?

  • Why will they come in?

  • What work style will they adopt?

  • How will they travel in safely?

  • What will they want to know?

  • What do they expect?

  • Do they need and individual response?

If we take the above and assemble them in a direction of travel, here is what we believe will happen and we are seeing in the transition from REACT to RECOVER.


There are three schools of action / organisational response

1.The Google, Facebook and Amazon, City approach (HYPERTECH)

  1. We go back in January

  2. After its clear we have a vaccine or 100% testing

  3. Our people can work from home and are as productive or more productive

  4. We have our own Tech Tools for productive collaboration

2. Improvise and Hope Organisations (IHOPE)

a. Screens in reception

b. No visitors

c. Meeting rooms closed or turned into offices

d. One way systems

e. Red or green disks on every desk

f. No track and trace employee system in case of infection

g. clear communication that the office is a hazard area

h. Hazard tape and temporary signs everywhere

3. The technology aware, people sensitive organisations (TAPSO)

a. They adopt a phased back to work approach

b. They have a clear communication policy of what to do when