On the 2nd February, Premier Daniel Andrews released a statement announcing the staged return to office spaces would be accelerated this month. In anticipation for this we thought it would be best to brush up on our covid-safe office etiquette in order to prepare our return to the office.

With an unknown outline for the future and the further lifting of restrictions refer to Victoria Government news for all of the up-to-date responsibilities and requirements you need to be informed of to re-enter the workplace.

Whilst we are all keen to restore some normality again, it is important to remember the habits and practices that we have accumulated over this last year in order to ensure a safe working environment.

It should come as no surprise that washing and sanitising our hands is at the top of our list. In fact, it has never been more important. Returning to work means the return of commuters and large-scale use of public transport. We all need to keep vigilant about the potential to spread germs now that we will be frequenting the same areas again.

Stagger your start and end times to avoid heavy foot-traffic. This will not only decrease the amount of people commuting at a given time, but also clear more room between people in enclosed spaces such as stairwells and lifts.

Don’t delete your Zoom application just yet. Even though we may be allowed in the same building again that doesn’t mean that meetings will be conducted completely face to face. Depending on meeting areas and the regulations around people per space, your meetings could be taking place across several rooms so Zoom will still be commonplace.

BYO cups, dishes and cutlery. Shared spaces such as the kitchen may be looking quite bare when you get back. Your office will have their own rules on kitchen etiquette but the safest way to proceed would be packing your own utensils in the morning and bringing them home with you again in the evening.

Before winter is upon us, take the opportunity to enjoy the last of the summer weather with walking meetings. For smaller meetings stretch your legs and get outside where you have the space to talk face to face and get some fresh air.

On a similar note, take your breaks outside. After a year of working from home our usual work schedule may look very different from what it once was. To acclimatise back into our old routines, try to take breaks away from your desk to promote productivity.

Disinfect your space. You are sure to hear this constantly, but for good reason. Disinfectant will be rife in all parts of the office this year and you can do your bit by sanitising your desk and by paying particularly close attention to the mouse and keyboard that you have used throughout the day. Some workplaces may even require you to bring your own to prevent shared use of these items.

Masks are still mandatory. Know the rules and regulations around when you must keep your mask on. We have seen varying requirements to mask use as situations develop and change over the months, so it is important to keep a mask on you at all times in order to follow the required direction.

Enjoy the company. Following the government guidelines and the rules of your workplace, appreciate that we can start to operate in the same spaces again. We have had a long and difficult road to get to this point so enjoy the company and the return of face to face interactions with your colleagues.

At Accountancy Connect, we are very much looking forward to operating in-person again and wish everyone a happy and safe return to the office.

Emma Fuelling, Feature Editor

By Emma Fuelling, Feature Editor.