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Should Green Contractors Start Bringing Admins Back to the Office?

Shutterstock Photo License - By Franck Boston
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Sustainable contractors have a lot of things to take into consideration. If you have a green contracting business, you are regularly thinking about ways to lower your carbon footprint while working on new building projects. You also have to teach your customers how to lower the carbon footprint of their home.

However, you have to think about other things that don’t get nearly as much attention. This includes appreciating the changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

There have clearly been some positive changes brought on by the pandemic. For one thing, cities have actually become eco-friendlier. People have started to work from home permanently at some businesses, which is both good for many people’s mental health and for the planet.

However, there are some clear downsides to having the workforce be totally remote. You have to think about the frustrations associated with working outside the office and productivity constraints.

With life starting to look more like it did pre-pandemic, the main concern for many workers is the return to the office and whether it is safe. Many of your administrative staff might need to make this decision when you are running a green construction company.

A Safe Return to the Office

Many US companies have already starting sending people back to the office. In Europe, they are starting to do the same. In the UK, the government advice to work from home where possible is expected to be removed, along with many other restrictions, from 19th July 2021. From this date, it is expected that many more workers will be returning to work after multiple months of remote working.

One of the main concerns for employers will be assuring their staff that the office is a safe space for their workers. This includes having office separators, socially distanced desks and wash stations for offices. It will be the responsibility of the employer to ensure that there are many practical measures taken in order to adhere to government guidelines. They will also be responsible for health and safety protocol among staff.

With government furlough schemes coming to an end, there is also increased pressure on companies for employees to return to the office. Companies will be left to face the difficult decision of returning to full wages or having to fire team members. For this reason, a return to the office and maximum efficiency of staff will be of primary concern.

Vulnerability of Unvaccinated Staff

One of the big safety risks of returning to the office is its dependency on the vaccine rollout. This is something already being dealt with in finance capitals such as Hong Kong where, despite office attendance being nearly that of pre-pandemic, there is still a low vaccination rate.

In the United Kingdom, vaccination rollout has been one of the fastest and comprehensive in the world. However, there are still many individuals choosing not to have the Covid-19 vaccination.

For companies to ensure that their offices are “covid-secure”, they need to be able to guarantee that their workforce is suitably immunized. The problem here will come from introducing voluntary vaccination policies or making a vaccination a contractual obligation for employees.

New Variants

Another factor threatening a safe return to the office is the new variants of Covid. For example, recently in Manchester, a sharp increase in cases of the delta variant meant that many workers were forced to stay home. Bloomberg data showed that this, in turn, led to a 10% drop in sandwich sales at Pret a Manger Ltd outlets.

This illustrates the direct impact that new variants have both on an employee’s ability to attend work and, subsequently, the larger impact this has on company sales.

The Commute

The journey to work has been highlighted frequently as a hotspot for contracting the virus. In fact, in a recent survey by the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry, workers stated that the risk of contracting Covid-19 when commuting is their main worry about the return to the office.

Data shows that both road traffic and public transportation are returning to pre-pandemic levels. With talk of possible mask-free travel in the near future, it will be interesting to see whether the commute becomes even more of a risk factor.

Psychological Risk

Whilst the physical risks of returning to the office become fewer and fewer, there are still important psychosocial factors to bear in mind. For many, the office has become a genuine source of anxiety, be it due to perceived risk of physical contagion, social anxiety, or the stress of returning to full-time office work. These issues have the potential to impact a safe return to the office or, at the very least, employee perception of a safe return.

Green Construction Companies Need to Consider Sending Administrators Back to the Office

You need to consider many issues as the owner or manager of a green construction company. You will need to think about whether or not to have people in administrative roles return to the office. These tips will help make your decision easier.

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