Workers collaborating in an office environment.
Workers collaborating in an office environment.

Is the remote work experiment over yet?

Published January 25, 2022

Categories: Safety, Employees, Facilities Management, Business & Manufacturing, Coronavirus, Reopen Responsibly, IFM

At the height of the pandemic, remote workers accounted for almost 25% of the workforce. That number has decreased to 11.1% at the beginning of December 2021 (Bureau of Labor Statistics), only slightly down from the prior month's 11.3%.

What started as an accommodation to keep businesses operating through local, state, and national lockdowns has become a permanent feature as we approach the post-pandemic economy of supply chain challenges, labor shortages, and rising wages.

As Ben Wick reports in Business Insider "Preference isn't the only factor powering remote work's longevity. Omicron's rapid spread across the country has delayed return-to-office plans for companies like Google, Lyft, and Meta."

While it's true that some companies' return-to-office plans had already been adjusted in reaction to the Delta variant - Omicron and the worsening labor shortage has led some companies to use remote/hybrid work arrangements and increased compensation to attract and retain employees.

Most companies are also using this opportunity to ensure that their offices/facilities provide safe and healthy environments for employees, clients, and guests.

We've updated our hugely popular guide for reopening your workplace. For additional tips and strategies, download Reopen Responsibly, A "New Normal" Guide for Safe and Healthy Workplaces.

Presented in a previous blog article, but repeated here for ease of reference, here are some of the systems in your facility that contribute to a safe and healthy workplace:

Ventilation

To better manage your ventilation and indoor air quality (IAQ), apply multiple ventilation interventions, if possible. The more you can implement, the greater chance you have at reducing the concentration of virus particles in the air and reducing the risk of viral spread.

You will want to:

  • Increase the introduction of outdoor air (when possible)
  • Improve central air filtration
  • Add portable filtration options
  • Create directional airflow
  • Install supplemental air treatments

Flooring

In most business facilities, the flooring is what really stands out – but it can also be a magnet for allergens and dirt. Updating, deep cleaning, and refinishing flooring can create a healthier and shinier environment for employees and visitors.

To present a fresh finish:

  • Update older or dated floor mats
  • Vacuum and deep clean carpets
  • Refinish tiled and hard-floor areas

As an added bonus, deep clean any upholstery that may have also collected dust and allergens.

Filtration systems

Filtration is not only essential for creating fresh, contaminant-free water to keep our bodies healthy but is also used in almost any industrial process you can imagine. With less activity happening in your facility, damp filtration systems can easily begin to grow bacteria and mold. Particles of the bacteria or mold may now run through your pipes and into your machinery and cause equipment to not function properly. If the bacteria are able to get into your drinking water, it can make occupants ill.

Fully flush your filtration system and replace filters that show damage, smell strange, or are discolored.

Pipes and sewage systems

Static water can cause a buildup of sediment and allow microorganisms to breed. This can cause discoloration, staining, damaged equipment, or even clogs if there is a large enough buildup.

Take precautions to clear the facility’s water lines and flush the systems in areas where there has been reduced capacity or where water has been able to stay static. If you notice any odd smells or discoloration coming from your pipes or your drains, you may have a larger issue and need to bring in a professional.


Great partners like Flagship can help make your transition back into the office successful. We can be a “force multiplier” that adapts with you, offers you guidance, brings expertise, and ensures your workplace runs smoothly every day.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to one of our facilities experts.