Heading back to the office soon? Here’s what the ‘new norm’ will really look like

Many people are slowly returning to their offices at the moment. 

The last number of months have been extremely strange and unprecedented for everyone. The global outbreak of COVID-19 saw millions of people moving to a “work from home” setup, while millions more were furloughed or lost their jobs. The global pandemic affected us all, but we’re slowly reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. The virus is by no means a thing of the past just yet, but normal life (or the new normal) is starting to resume. 

Many people have been returning to their offices and places of work in recent weeks, with more planning to in the coming couple of months. And while we’re excited to return to the hustle and bustle of office life, things will look pretty different to six months ago. 

So, what exactly will office life look like now, as we enter our new norm?

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So as of this week, the Irish government declared the wearing of masks to be compulsory in shops, and all other indoor settings. This of course, does not include homes and sit-in restaurants or cafés. As we all start returning to work in the coming months, a lot of offices will implement the wearing of masks as a rule, particularly when moving around the building, or being in meetings. You may not necessarily have to wear them at your desk, if social distancing is adhered to. 

Temperature testing

Many companies will be introducing mandatory temperature testing at the entrances to their office spaces. This is something that has already been widely rolled out in gyms, beauty salons and barbers. If you have a temperature, you will not be allowed into the building. 

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Offices will be taking hygiene to the next level in a post-covid world, and rightly so. There will be hand sanitising stations installed at points in your office, more intense cleaning of common spaces and signs all over reminding you to wash your hands. 

Shared spaces

In an unfortunate turn of events, shared spaces in offices will likely change dramatically. Shared kitchens will be handled in completely new ways in the offices with the reduction of touch-points on anything previously shared, such as copiers, printers, coffee pots, supplies, and cupboards. 

Less people 

Most office spaces are not designed to allow for the 2 metre social distancing rule, which means that less people will be allowed to work in these spaces. Many businesses are splitting their workforces into groups, and rotating them on a week-in-week-out basis. This means everyone will get time in the office with their own teams, but only every second week. Likewise, you may find that companies are being flexible, and allowing people to remain working from home if they’d rather not return to the office. 

Author Rebecca O'Keeffe

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