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Returning to work in a post-lockdown world

07 May 2020
Returning to work in a post-lockdown world

Returning to work in a post-lockdown world is very much high on the agenda this week. With the prime minister set to announce a roadmap out of lockdown on Sunday 10 May 2020.

As part of that roadmap (and as reported on earlier this week) workplace rules, post-lockdown, are likely to be covered.

We look at what normality could mean for many employers and employees post-lockdown.

Health & safety and employee wellbeing

Enhanced health & safety and employee wellbeing measures will likely need to be introduced into workplaces. Covering not only office premises but taking into account employees that will be working from home for an extended period, perhaps even permanently.

Social distancing practices

For businesses that require employees on-site, a raft of social distancing measures will need to be introduced before workers can return to work.

These are likely to include limits on gatherings in the workplace, for example, two people to a lift or a limit on how many people can participate in on-site meetings. Employers will also need to look at ensuring safe distances are adhered to with regards to people’s desks.

Sales of tape will likely go up, with many businesses resorting to physical markings to keep employees at a safe distance from each other.

Additional hygiene products and procedures

Businesses will likely need to improve and formalise enhanced hygiene procedures. As well as being prepared for the increase in the use of items such as paper towels, hand soap and cleaning products.

In particular, hotels and restaurants will need robust procedures in place to ensure the safety of staff and patrons.

Improvements to mental health practices

It is quite easy to neglect the strains on mental health that the current situation is having on employees. With lockdown depriving people of the things that they need to stay well, such as the routine of work and social engagements and peer support groups.

Employers are encouraged to begin planning how they can assist employees in dealing with the current and new challenges that will be presented to them.

Returning to work

For many, working in an office full-time will be a distant memory, with employers and employees realising the productivity and wellbeing benefits.

Staggered start times

For sectors and jobs where working from home is not a valid option, employers may look to implement staggered start times for employees. This will go some way to negating the number of employees on-site. But also to ensure that public transport, during typical rush hour times, is less crowded.

More open communications

The need for clear and consistent internal employee communications has never been more pertinent. To keep employees safe and able to work, employers are having to put a greater focus on communicating updates with their staff.


According to recent research from Willis Towers Watson, employee productivity remains resilient, despite the widespread disruption caused by COVID-19.

The survey found that two-thirds of companies had the majority of their staff (75% of employees) working remotely, with 85% saying they had the technology, tools and resources needed to work productively for an extended period.


With announcements set for this Sunday (10 May 2020), there will be some respite with certain restrictions being relaxed, where safe. However, for most, working life has changed over the long-term.

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