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Growth Platform: Re-opening our workplaces

Growth Platform recently hosted a webinar for Liverpool City Region businesses on the hot topic of re-opening the workplace. Joined by guest speakers from CBRE and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to talk about how to prepare your workplace and transport considerations, so employees can safely get to the workplace.

You can watch the full webinar here.

Workplace Reset

Workplace head, Kate Smith from CBRE, talked about how business leaders will need to rethink the office and start planning and preparing for the return to work, including the steps required to create a safe and productive day-one back in the office.

Kate provided a guide on who should come into the office or stay at home and how companies can accommodate that capacity. Here we have her key tips on what you can do to prepare:

  1.  Survey your employees to assess their working from home situation, what can be done to help them continue to work remotely and how they feel about returning to work.
  2. Employee profiling, who needs to be back in the office and who can continue to work from home
  3. Then plan a phased return to work.
    a. space planning and design (applying 2 meters distance around every workstation) involves; applying physical distancing – looking at floor plans of the building to assess capacity
    b. Consider the flow of the building with access points and providing safe walkways around the building, such as one staircase for going up and one for down if possible. Introduce signage to indicate safe walkways and raising spatial awareness.
    c. Confirming maximum work points and operational impacts such as, meeting rooms and break out areas. Then compare demand with capacity and make adjustments.
  4. Changing business practices; do you consider staggered shifts to help with capacity and accessing buildings, along with a mix of staff working from home and time in the office.
  5. Review the customer journey, so you can look at how you can create a touchless office, such as closing communal areas like gyms etc.

CBRE have produced more guidance around a return to the workplace in their playbook – download here.

Preparing your employees for a return to the workplace

The second part of our webinar covered the key element for returning to work and that was how employees will get to work. Gary Evans and Huw Jenkins from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, talked about the challenges in maintaining social distancing on public transport and actions being made to allow for a more active way to get to work. Here we have some of the approaches they are looking to take:

  • Where possible the reallocation of road space to keep walking and cycling a safe mode of transport to work
  • Introduce secure pop-up cycle hubs at key worker employment locations
  • Bus stops and stations to promote social distancing
  • Signage and platform markings to support social distancing on the rail network
  • Having a card only payment method on Mersey ferries, which also has the ability to flex its times to compliment other transport modes.
  • Operating Mersey tunnels with a focus on electronic payments and correct cash toll only
  • Potential to re-purpose highways to support key transport hubs

A key takeaway from their session was to avoid public transport and either walk or cycle to work where possible, if your commute allows.

For more guidance on traveling on public transport please visit the Merseytravel website here.

For more tips and advice, you can watch the full webinar here