While many have adapted to a commute-free, home working routine during the COVID-19 pandemic, others miss the interaction and buzz of an office environment – not only for productivity but also for social contact and mental health. Businesses are now considering hybrid working models as a long-term strategy, encompassing both office and remote working options.
One of the most critical aspects in welcoming employees back to the workplace is the promise of a COVID-secure environment, including a strong focus on cleaning for infection control. This will generally require a clear desk policy to facilitate easier cleaning, especially in the case of hot desking or where shift patterns have been introduced to maintain a manageable level of office footfall. Consequently, lockers are soaring in popularity as a way of providing employees with a secure space to store their belongings. No longer confined to schools and sports venues, these personal storage units have joined the flexible workplace revolution.
Lockers can be easily managed through space management software, such as QFM Space, giving control over how they are assigned as well as extensive reporting options. Lockers can be picked from visual floorplans, color-coded by status (such as available, booked or out of order) and confirmations received via email or text message. In making this process easy, employees can feel more confident about returning to the office where new agile desk policies have been implemented. An added benefit of lockers is allowing the coveted separation between work and home life, with which many have been struggling. Leaving laptops and paperwork in the office can help draw the missing line between the two, helping with mental health issues associated with homeworking during the pandemic.
Thanks to COVID-19 vaccinations, there is now light at the end of the tunnel. But following a year of disruption and adaptation, it seems unlikely that things will revert neatly back to how they were. FMs need to continue planning for a hybrid workplace to meet the new diverse needs of the workforce, or risk losing staff to businesses which are evolving to meet these challenges.