NOT another back-to-work blog - post COVID19
We’ve all seen them…post after post about how office design will need to change in a post-pandemic era. Those that know me know my views on this, so I won’t wax lyrical about the need for an adjustment of management systems and protocols over a wholesale re-modelling of workplace design thinking. Whilst I’m not looking to play down the subject, I do feel a greater concern begins before you even arrive at the office.
1 in 10 Australians use public transport to commute to work, rubbing shoulders with people they don’t know every day during two busy rush-hour periods. These are uncontrolled environments where we rely on the common sense and courtesy of others to not be exposed to possible virus transmissions.
Conversely, the office is (or can be) a controlled environment, boundaries can be set and rules can be implemented around social distancing, occupancy levels and sanitization to ensure you and your co-workers are as safe as possible. We have also created relationships with the people we work with and a mutual respect will ensure we all abide by the new protocols. Yes, there will be some shuffling of furniture and new management systems in place, but on the whole, I think the office will be a much safer place than the 311 bus at the end of my street.
I am fortunate that I can walk into the office from my home and over the last month or so I have been walking into work 2-3 days a week and occasionally catching the train. My train ride is only one stop but I still choose to get up early to minimize encounters with others. However, over the last week the city and the trains have become noticeably busier and people still continue to push past on the escalators ignoring social distancing rules and increasing the possibility of transmission.
I understand the UK are looking at the possibility implementing staggered business hours as they attempt to return to normality, as a way reduce the volume of people who commute to work, also, working from home may remain as business-as-usual for a number of companies. However, the fact remains, over the coming weeks/months more and more people will start using public transport and spaces, and this is where I see a greater risk of transmission, not in a controlled office space with people we know. So, let’s be honest…where will you feel at greater risk?