IPA Pulse Survey: A ‘New Normal’ at the Office

IPA’s latest pulse survey tapped the knowledge of nearly 150 MPs in late May on several key issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, as many states roll out phased re-openings and firms can return to their physical offices, 30% of respondents expect to have more than half of their staff back immediately, with another 31% expecting 25%-50% of staff back in the office.

And those employees returning to physical offices in the coming weeks are likely to encounter a much different looking and functioning workspace than the one they left in mid-March, but in what ways? That is, what types of safety measures will firms be putting in place in their offices upon reopening?

Among the more popular options, the ready availability of hand sanitizer will be one of the most ubiquitous new features of office life, with 96% of survey respondents planning to introduce this relatively simple, cheap and effective addition. In order to keep a lid on large gatherings, meanwhile, 87% of firms will strictly limit meeting sizes and 68% plan to reduce capacities in cafeterias and breakrooms.

For now, however, it appears as though many firms are opting to forgo potentially more stringent health and safety measures in their offices. For example, just over half (56%) are planning to require employees to wear face coverings, while far fewer will be performing daily temperature checks (36%) or erecting protective dividers between workstations (35%).

And among the 8% of respondents who have other plans in mind, several noted in the comments that their firms will be implementing staggered work schedules in order to cut down on the number of people in the office at any given time.

Catch up on more insights from this IPA Pulse Survey:

Shrinking the Physical Office Footprint

An Interesting Interlude for Internships