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Blog · 09 Feb 2022

What to expect when returning to the office

With many businesses expecting people to return to the office, you’re likely going to see quite a few changes when you get there.

Roy Woolnough
Digital adoption specialist

Employees are slowly being reintegrated into office spaces either full-time or a few days a week. Office layouts will have been adapted to provide a functional workspace that combines productivity with wellbeing. With an increased dependency on technology like video, companies will be providing more flexible collaboration spaces to accommodate new working patterns.

Here are some changes you will notice and should be aware of.

  1. Social distancing - Even though rules have been relaxed around social distancing, companies will probably still be encouraging this in enclosed spaces. Even if you feel comfortable not following these guidelines, you should be mindful that colleagues may prefer to retain a distance and have anxiety about being in an enclosed environment.
  2. Signage - Employers will have introduced signage regarding health and safety, meeting room booking procedures and general awareness. Take time to read this information so you are aware of your new working conditions.
  3. Meeting rooms - Because of a greater need to collaborate by video, meeting rooms may have an imposed time limit on meetings to allow more colleagues the opportunity to use the facilities. Set agendas to keep meetings short and to the point.
  4. Contactless solutions - You may see more QR codes around, so make sure you know how to scan these and get the content being shared. Meeting rooms could be offering solutions to connect your device to conferencing equipment wirelessly. Check with your employer that your computer will connect correctly, and you know how to invite remote colleagues into the video meeting.
  5. Schedule adjustments - Plan with your team when you are going to be in the office. There’s little point going in if the rest of your team are working from home and you’re going to meet on video unless it’s for a meeting with people outside your team. Schedule days where you will benefit from face-to-face collaboration with co-workers.
  6. Online booking systems - Your company may have needed to remove desks to make more space for employees to work at a safer distance. So, you may need to book your desk, meeting room or collaboration space in advance.
  7. IT fixes - While you were away you may have neglected PC maintenance. On your first day back allow some time to make sure all updates and latest security patches get installed. When connecting to internal networks this may happen automatically, you don’t want your computer freezing up just before you are about to do an important presentation.
  8. Human interaction - We’ve probably all felt a little isolated over the last two years. Many of us will have got used to not seeing many people in our daily lives. When back in the office you might find it overwhelming encountering so many people. Don’t panic! There will naturally be an adjustment period. But humans are social creatures, and you’ll slowly start to see the benefits of being around people again.
  9. Collaboration tools - Pre-Pandemic a lot of businesses struggled getting their people to fully adopt their collaboration tools like Webex, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. But when the world was forced to work from home those tools quickly became everyday essentials for communication and teamwork. That won’t change when you get back to the office. All these tools have received huge enhancements during this period and most people are accepting them as much more than just meeting services. With chat channels, file sharing and whiteboarding, workers are really seeing the benefits of them. 

If you haven’t kept up to date with all the new features of your collaboration services, check out the BT support centre where you'll find guides and training for the tools we support.

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