Reopening our offices – Our COVIDSafe Plan 

As restrictions begin to ease, we have put a lot of thought into how to implement a successful return to the office for our team members.

Marty Drill

By Marty Drill, 4 minute read

Australia has been both smart and lucky. While our island state has enabled us to implement powerful isolation measures from the rest of the world, it has not kept us immune from this insidious disease. Closing the borders early was smart. Quarantining people returning from overseas for two weeks was also pretty smart. 

Millions of people worked from home. This restriction of movement ultimately saved widespread transmission in Australia, Bali, NZ and many other countries that were able to close their borders. This reduced strain on hospitals, allowed time for procedure and PPE reinforcements and ultimately saved many lives. Together, we flattened the curve. It is a pretty remarkable achievement that we can all be proud of. Especially when you compare it to the plight of many other countries.

The restrictions have begun to ease and it is time to plan our return to offices across Australia and Bali. 

Some of our team are desperate to get back to an office, while others are still supporting their kids with remote learning or are worried about community transmission and would prefer to work from home for now. 

Each of us are in different positions and our plan is designed to support everyone’s situation. If a team member does not want to return to the office in the first two phases of this plan, they are not obliged to. We will work with them on a plan that suits their circumstances and needs.  

We have operated as a distributed team for around a decade, which has provided us with the ability to support people’s goals, location and enormous flexibility.

As we operate in several different locations that are governed by different governments, the timing of our plans for reopening will differ. 

We have outlined some principles that are the basis of this plan. 

Principles

  • We think ‘people first’ - this includes those desperate to return and those seeking to work from home longer
  • Team members can control the timing of their return to the office
  • We take all steps to keep our team as safe as possible
  • We communicate our plan clearly
  • If a team member has any signs of illness, they are asked not to enter an office
  • All offices will have physical distancing measures in the first stages, including using fewer desks and restricted meeting room usage
  • Regular and robust cleaning will take places in all of our offices
  • We encourage high risk team members to stay at home

Our plan has 4 phases

We seek to keep our clients and our team safe. 

Phase 1 – Early Adopters 

Office limited to 25 people with around 30 sqm per person. Offices are closed to clients and meeting rooms have occupancy limits. Desks are rearranged to provide maximum space between people. Front door is closed.

Phase 2 – Early Majority and Internal Events 

Office limited to 30 people at a time. One client meeting at a time with a maximum of six people in attendance. Internal team events in the office are now possible. Physical distancing and space restrictions continue to apply.  Seating in communal areas will be restricted with seats marked as unusable, to ensure physical distancing. Front door remains closed.

Phase 3 – Return of staff and visitors 

Front door reopens. Office limited to 50 people at a time. Multiple client meetings are possible at the same time, but the total number of people in a meeting room and in the office overall continues to be limited. Desk and seating restrictions removed. Regular deep cleaning schedule continues.

Phase 4 – Events are back baby! 

External events can be held in our offices. Individual work from home arrangements may be made with team members seeking to work from home. Regular deep cleaning schedule continues.

Offices are a critical part of collaboration and innovation. They provide social connection and forge teams. And ultimately our collective reliance on them has changed. It is now acceptable for the designer to attend the meeting with a client from her home. As we have all been into so many people’s homes over the last few months, the stigma of working from home is gone. Together we must navigate a new approach to working from the most appropriate place for the situation. 

If you would like a copy of our COVIDSafe plan, email [email protected] and we will provide the full plan. 

Action plan – if a team member tests positive

If we become aware of a confirmed case of a Luminary team member contracting the virus and who has been to an office, we will: 

  1. Contact health authorities and implement their recommendations. (This may involve immediately closing the office for a period of time and reverting to team members working from home.)
  2. Undertake additional comprehensive cleaning of all areas of the office (taking instruction from our specialist cleaning providers), and
  3. Notify all team members.
  4. It is likely that all people who have come into contact with the person infected will be asked by the Government to get tested for coronavirus before returning to the office.