I won’t lie, when news of Covid-19 first hit the mainstream media, I for one like many was quite dismissive of it. How could it possibly affect me, on the other side of the world in a “first world” country with a strong healthcare system? The answer was actually in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Fast forward five months and the effects of this pandemic are being felt in every corner of the globe and affecting pretty much every area of our lives.
The first day back at the office after three months away was an anxious time to say the least. Although my colleagues and I had been working normally from home, going back into the office again had an eerie feeling that even two month later, has still not been shaken. New protocols are in place where there has to be adequate spacing between people at workstations and only a limited amount of people can be in the office at any one time. We actually have a new work routa where each employee has a set schedule for when they work from the office and from home.
In terms of workplace relationships, I am lucky enough to be working with honest and careful people. We are all respectful of each other and understand the consequences of interacting with others whom we have no idea of their contact history. For this reason we have come to an agreement to limit our contact with others outside of the workplace only to those we live with, to minimise the chances of catching the virus.
Our organisation has had plenty of time to plan for our return to the office, and I can actually commend them on the steps they have taken to ensure everyone’s safety. Meetings and conference rooms are no longer booked manually, instead they have invested in a great room booking system by Pronestor that allows us to book and manage our meeting rooms without the need for human interaction. What once used to go through our receptionist and take around one hour to complete, is now quickly and easily completed using an app on our phones or laptop. Such a system has worked wonders to improve not only safety but also efficiency.
For lunch, while I used to mainly go out for takeaway, my colleagues and I are more heavily reliant on food delivery services as well as bringing in our own food. Not only has this reduced my expenditure on food, but it reduces the chances of contact with potential carriers.
At first, heading back into the office was slightly daunting; what was once a simple one-hour commute to work, has turned into a journey where I have become hyper-aware of those around me’s actions such as coughs and sneezes. However, the improvement in precautionary measures implemented by my work as well as those outside of it, I consider exemplary. While work and travel may not be the same again for a long time, this “new norm” is becoming more acceptable with every day that passes.