Five top tips for returning to the office post COVID-19

COVID-19 restrictions have started to ease. This means people are starting to return to work in their office after a period of working from home.

We will need to keep safe while we return from remote working to working back onsite. But what can we do to optimise employee safety? I thought I’d discuss some top tips to change and manage your workplace in the safest way possible.

1. Manage the numbers

This is two-faceted. The first facet is to create a roster of who works onsite and when. For example, you may have some employees onsite this week and others onsite next week. This is on the proviso that employees not working onsite continue to work from home.

It may be that some employees need to work onsite whilst other employees don’t. Take this into account in your planning.

The idea behind this is to minimise how many employees come in proximity at any one time, making it easier to abide by physical distancing rules.

The second facet is maintaining the four square metre rule. What is the four square metre rule? COVID-19 can be caught by micro-droplets from a person’s sneezing, coughing or exhaling. This means the government requires us to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from another person. At a workplace, this means ensuring there’s four square metres of space per person, where possible.

The NSW Government has more information about the four square metre rule. Click here to read that information.

2. Keep remote working in place

This helps manage the flow of employees in and out of the workplace and promotes safe distancing. Not only that, this will make matters easier to manage should there be another peak in COVID-19 cases.

As mentioned above, you may have some employees who don’t need to work onsite to be productive. Other employees may need to work onsite.

3. Rethink physical setup

Think about the setup at your workplace. Do this before asking employees to return to working onsite.

Consider the following:

  • How can you change the workplace setup to ensure compliance with restrictions?

  • What do you need to change to ensure the health and safety of your employees (and yourself)?

  • What workplace policies need updating or implementing to ensure workplace health and safety?

4. Rebuild workplace culture

The most productive workplaces have motivated employees. This is a great opportunity to reset your business culture, if needed. Why? Because a great work culture will create and maintain motivated employees.

Us humans crave social interaction of one kind or another. This is an important aspect of a productive workplace. How do we create this in a post-COVID-19 workplace? Collaboration is a great way to rebuild culture, for both onsite and remote employees. My suggestions in my blog on keeping remote employees motivated is relevant here too. You can find that blog here.

5. Maintain regular communication

Have you and your employees been working from home? If so, you’ll have realised how important communication is. Keep up that communication while you’re managing and moving into this next phase. This will avoid any confusion and make working life easier for everyone involved.

Effective communication with employees was important before COVID-19. This continues to be the case. Transitioning to new ways of working post-COVID-19 needs clear messaging.

Things to keep in mind with communication include:

  • What information do employees need to know? Consider their safety as well as their mental and physical wellbeing.

  • What’s the best way to communicate with employees? This relates to those returning to work onsite as well as those continuing to work from home.

  • What will you communicate with your customers and suppliers and how?


Having employees returning to work onsite requires considerable thought and forward planning. Whilst there is government-published information available, planning this can be overwhelming.

If you need help planning employees returning to work onsite or you would like a copy of our FREE COVID-19 comeback kit please email me at

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