Getting Back to Work: 6 Things to Consider When Planning Your Big Return

This week’s blog contains information unashamedly lifted from Archibus who have created a guide based on experience and the thought leadership of accomplished real estate professionals and facility managers, to help you safely and effectively manage the return of your workforce.


The changes in usage of so many workplaces due to COVID-19 varies widely and continues to create dynamic demands on corporate real estate (CRE) groups. CRE professionals and facility managers have to quickly assess the safety of their workplaces and risk to employees–then navigate how to respond.


If you are lucky enough to be on a ‘simple’ path of moving out and returning, your journey will look something like this:


 COOP=Continuity Of Operations.


This effort is complicated by a diverse set of circumstances with changing regional regulations. Organizations are mitigating health risks by getting proactive in how they deal with them, and smart in how they use technology to support them.


This proactivity and use of technology are more pronounced if you are dealing with a more complex environment such as partial returns, fluctuating returns, allocations of spaces for phased attendance, the designation of spaces for new uses. See our previous Back to Work blog from July regarding team spaces aka Alternative Workplace Strategies, for advice.


Whatever your plans to return to the workplace, and whenever you plan to do this, rest assured that other CRE professionals are planning for similar. You are not alone! If it feels like you are, do get in touch with us, we’re here to listen, advise and share experiences.


So, what can you do to manage a safe transition and prepare for the months ahead? Here are a few tips from Archibus’ research:


The continuous model

1. Phasing Your Return Around Essential Work

We’ve all heard this one by now, but for those employees who can continue to be productive at home, it is best that they stay at home for the initial move-back as we all test the waters. The first employees back should be employees at low-risk who need their workspaces to be productive. Later waves can be introduced as the situation becomes more stable. Phasing is not only about keeping high-risk staff safe; it’s about creating space for physical distancing.


Archibus can help you keep track of all allocated spaces, plan your moves, prioritize teams that need their spaces the most.


2. Considering Remote Work Options Long-Term

For many, remote work has been a revelation. Making remote work a part of your long-term strategy might make sense to shed a large chunk of unnecessary risk, reduce density, and even reduce space utilization. Remote work is attractive to employees, efficient for space planners, and potentially just as productive as making an appearance.


3. Staggering Shifts to Minimize Unnecessary Interactions

While many may have to return, not everyone has to show up on the same days. Employees can be broken into teams, with designated groups for different days of the week. So one team can come into the office on Mondays and Wednesdays, while the other can come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


4. Enhancing Cleaning Protocols

Maintaining a clean workplace will be critical to mitigating the risk of potential infections spreading. Continuous cleaning strategies focus on daily cleaning of any shared workstations, as well as on any major areas of traffic. Some areas, like common lounges, maybe better off closed down completely. While these calculations are specific to each workplace, all can benefit from a system for planning and requesting workplace services. Archibus preventive maintenance enables Facility Managers to schedule regular cleaning through automated work orders across the workplace. Mobile service requests can allow anyone in the workplace to request cleaning.


5. Physically Distancing Through Hot Desking

Many companies are looking to reduce the proximity of employees in their workplace, and that means both density planning as well as controlling where employees move throughout the workplace. Archibus Space Planning are planners with the tools and metrics to reconfigure offices for lower density use. With Archibus solutions for hot-desking and hoteling, companies can block off bookable workstations to increase the space between employees.


6. Contingency Planning with Environmental Health & Safety

If a new wave of viral infection does occur, it’s important to have the data and insight you need to respond with clear insight into how it’s impacting your workplace. Archibus’ Environmental Health and Safety application enable organizations to track the incident of infection across their workplaces so that they can keep tabs on the spread and warn staff who may be at risk of exposure.


If you would like a copy of the full guide or want to talk to us, contact us at

Alastair Jeffery


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