Following the government announcement here in the UK on Sunday 10th May 2020, the ‘conditional plan’ to reopen society for a life after lockdown was announced. The main points highlighted were:

  • Return to work for those who cannot work from home
  • Unlimited exercise complying with social distancing rules
  • Potential of a phased return for schools from 1st June
  • Potential re-opening of some hospitality businesses and other public places no earlier than 1st July

So what does this mean for the life science sector? The race is still on to find a vaccine and many of the biotech hubs around the country have come together to aid testing with Alderley Park (home to a world class science facility, which as part of Manchester Science Partnerships is dedicated to discovery and new ideas and an office to Datatrial), part of the UK’s biggest diagnostic lab network testing for COVID-19. But for many who work in offices similar to the Datatrial team, there are still so many questions left unanswered and so much to think about following life after lockdown:

  1. Are we ready to go back to the office?
  2. Will homeworking be a more regular thing?
  3. What precautions do we need to introduce into our business?
  4. Will there be a shift in the long term to a more virtual way of doing things?
  5. What affect will COVID-19 have on organisation in the long-term?

The answer to many of these questions will become clearer as time goes by but for business leaders it’s essential that the health and wellbeing of your employees is the priority in your plans to return to a ‘normal’ work life. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Include your employees in your plans to phase back into the office
  2. Be as flexible as possible to ensure that employees can make an effective return to the workplace, considering ideas such as inductions back into the office and virtual tours of the adapted premises
  3. Be ready to consider new ways of working with a mix of home and office working

It is naïve to think life after lockdown will return to how it was before, but most of us have learnt some important lessons along the way, many of which could improve our way of working as we head into the future.