Return to office plan

What does Return to Office mean?

“Return to office” means bringing employees back to the office, site by site. This is not hybrid work or what our future of work will look like, but a first step in safely welcoming those employees who need to, or choose to, come back to the office in the coming months.

Jump-to:

Return to Office Planning Q&A

How will Facilities Management and Steering Committee/EMT) monitor how space is being used, and why is this important for planning?

Facilities Management will monitor how space is being used through the Condeco booking app and key card data. This information will help assess how to plan for capacity and determine if any changes need to be made based on demand. 

What if I booked space, but now I no longer need it?

If you booked a space and decide you no longer need it, please log back into Condeco and cancel the reservation as soon as possible. This will ensure the space appears as available to other colleagues who may be looking for space.

Where are we with RTO planning?

All 18 Canadian Blood Services office sites are open and ready to welcome people who choose to transition back into the office.  

If you have been identified as someone who wants to, or needs to return at these sites, your manager will be in touch with details on your return. 

Will the sites be assessed for air quality and ventilation to ensure all buildings are safe for when more people return?

We are constantly reviewing and optimizing our safety measures in our environments based on Public Health Agency of Canada recommendations with Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) being part of the Return to Office (RTO) planning.  Since COVID-19 can spread through the air, it is crucial that we take measures to ensure we take a diligent approach to ensuring the quality of indoor air in our workplaces. 

We have developed IAQ measures to assess and monitor ventilation, filtration, thermal comfort and air balancing. The implementation of RTO includes site by site assessment and alignment of occupancy to systems’ capacity or application of additional measures to align to IAQ standards. 
 
Additional measures may include increased ventilation, additional filtration and enhanced monitoring. Where buildings are leased, we will be working with landlords to measure and provide ventilation to align with guidelines. 

We will continuously monitor our ventilation systems to ensure air quality is maintained after people have returned.  If you have any questions related to air quality in your workplace, please contact your supervisor.  Air quality inquiries can be directed to Ask.Facilities@blood.ca and OHS & EHS. 

Will I be able to return a couple days a week to the office and continue to work remotely the rest of the time? 

Canadian Blood Services is supportive of flexible work arrangements where it is operationally feasible and cost effective. For employees who want to return a couple of days a week, we encourage them to speak with their managers.  

I’m currently on-site and nervous about more people sharing our space. How can we be assured we are safe and limiting the spread of COVID-19?

Before we bring anyone back, we do a complete assessment of the site to ensure it is safe to welcome more people. This includes examining and improving air quality systems and determining if the space can handle an increase in people while allowing physical distancing. Employees will be expected to complete a wellness self-assessment before coming onsite, In addition, all employees working onsite have the option to self-test with our rapid screening program. 

At this time, a limited number of employees are returning to each site.  

I have changed my mind about how many days I need to be in the office. What should I do?

The Condeco booking system is available for employees to book workspaces. If managers have questions, email Ask.Facilities@blood.ca.

What happens if my team is divided, with some working from home and some working in the office? Won’t that impact our ability to collaborate equitably?

During the RTO phase, the priority is to safely welcome those who need to or want to return. We are a national organization and many supervisors/managers have team members in various regions that have already leveraged technology to collaborate so you may see some colleagues in the office and some at home. To fully enable integration of returning employees to sites and provide a positive work experience, the RTO team will provide the means of reconnecting people with inclusive use of remote/virtual work modes much like we did before COVID. Employees will be encouraged to continue using Microsoft Teams for meetings so that everyone is included equally.  

Will the RTO plans change if COVID-19 variants cause an increase in cases?

We will continue to monitor cases and provincial guidelines across the country, and as always, our decisions will be informed by case counts, vaccination rates and government or public health guidance and requirements. Our priority is to accommodate more employees returning to the office, as long as it is safe to do so.

Do I need to return (ever) if my work can be done virtually?

As our work progresses on this project, we are also developing a future vision for our workplace. As these two projects work in parallel, the Future of Work project may be informed by the experiences of the Return to Office project.  

This work will help us answer questions on how we want to operate as individuals, teams and as an organization in the hopes of adopting a flexible work environment where the focus is on a safe and welcoming transition process. 

Canadian Blood Services is supportive of flexible work arrangements where it is operationally feasible and cost effective. 

I am having personal challenges at home, and I am not comfortable sharing. How can I express my need to come back to the office confidentially.

If you have a personal reason for returning to office, you can express this to your manager or supervisor and do not need to share the reason. If you and your supervisor have differing opinions, and you need support, please reach out to your PCP business partner. 

Booking office spaces/Shared spaces

How do I access the Condeco booking system?

Administrative staff returning to the office may book seats and/or meeting rooms through the Condeco booking system. The user-friendly booking system is accessible via a smartphone app, which has automatically been added to your CBS phone, or from a web browser at www.canadianbloodservices.condecosoftware.com. If you use your personal phone, you can download the Condeco mobile app from your phone vendor’s app store.  

This step-by-step video shows how to book a space and instructions on how to access the app and navigate it can be found in the Condeco Quick User Guide.

How can booking my space improve my work experience?

Booking space is required at this time, but it also brings some perks that can enhance your return-to-office experience. For instance, you can book multiple days, up to five weeks ahead of time, book meeting rooms at the same time, find your colleagues so you can sit near them, and actually book space for your colleagues so teams can plan to sit together on the same day. Check out the step-by-step video and the Condeco Quick User Guide for more tips and instructions. 

Can I book my old workspace?

Yes, if your usual desk or office appears as available, you can book it for multiple days, for up to five weeks. If you are a returning employee and have indicated that you will be in the office four or more days a week, you may have the option of securing your old desk and may not have to use the booking system.

Can I book more than one day at a time?

Yes, you can book multiple days, for up to five weeks. 

Are we able to pre-book and assign someone at a desk for certain days of the week?

Yes, you can book a workspace for another person, for multiple days, as long as the space appears as available.  

When booking for someone else, is there a limit on the number of people?

There is no limit! You can book as many people as you want, as long as the spot appears available. 

What are the options for booking spaces for external users who are not in our directory?

A CBS employee needs to book space on behalf of an external user e.g. visiting administrative contractor for this sporadic use.   

What if I booked a workspace or meeting room and decided I no longer need it?

If you booked a space and decide you no longer need it, please log back into Condeco and cancel the reservation as soon as possible. This will ensure the space appears as available to other colleagues who may be looking for space. 

How will Facilities Management monitor how space is being used, and why is this important for planning?

Facilities Management will monitor how space is being used through the Condeco booking app and key card data. This information will help determine if any changes need to be made based on demand.  

What do I need to do once I arrive at the site?

We ask that you check in when you arrive at your site. Click the “Check in now” button on the “Today” screen in the mobile app or desktop app. You don’t need to check in if you booked a desk that day.  Condeco may also check you in automatically if you have a mobile device with you that has the Condeco app; you are logged into the app; and have location services turned on.  

What if I work in the office full time? Do I need to book a space and check in?

If you have identified as someone who will work in the office four or more days a week, you may have secured a “fixed desk” and are automatically booked.  All other users are requested to check in when they arrive.  

Does this mean others will be potentially sitting at my desk?

Yes, it is possible, and your supervisor/manager will communicate the plan for your site and specific workstation.   

We understand that sharing your desk may be new and is an opportunity to transition to a new way of working. We hope that employees will understand and see this as an opportunity to try a flexible, open way of working; to see their usual desk as their colleague’s desk too. 

How do I prepare for a shared space transition?

There are a few steps to work towards sharing desk space. First, if you have indicated that you are not returning, or coming back part time, or have volunteered your desk for others to use, the RTO team will work with your supervisor/manager to plan the use of space.  This could entail “depersonalizing” your desk; or doing a “spring clean” of your storage and filing areas. You will be engaged and involved along the way. 

My team needs a private area due to sensitivities in our roles. Can we have a designated area?

Yes, the RTO team is working with supervisors/managers to determine which teams will need a designated area for privacy and security purposes.  

Our team would prefer to sit together to enable collaboration. Is this possible?

The booking system allows people to see where others have booked a space, so if you would like to sit near a friend or team colleague, you may have the option to do so. You can also book for another colleague and there are no limits to how many colleagues you can book at once. You can also book a workspace up to five weeks in advance.  

What if I need to book a quiet space to focus?

All you need to do is find available space that supports your need for quiet focus through the booking system.  

What happens with offices/cubicles that are being used as storage? Do we need to free those up?

Yes. Everyone is responsible to help ensure that sites, offices and cubicles are being used as intended. Some areas need a ‘Spring Clean Up’.  We must all be diligent about keeping our spaces tidy by taking personal items home, regularly reviewing files to digitize or recycle as appropriate and critically reviewing if an item must be stored. 

How do I book a meeting space?

Meeting spaces can continue to be booked through Outlook as before, but can also be booked through the Condeco booking system.   

My role sometimes require that I travel to other sites. How do I book space at another site?

The booking system allows you to search and book a workspace at any of our sites, for the day you are visiting.  

When will Canadian Blood Services be reopening its fitness rooms?

The plan to re-open our fitness rooms has been underway with site-by-site openings over the summer months. Ventilation and air quality has been assessed and a booking system has been developed.

At this time, we have determined seven fitness rooms can be opened, with several conditions in place. Calgary, Winnipeg, Brampton, and Dartmouth opened on July 25. Saint John, St. John’s, and Vancouver will open on September 16. To manage use of the space, these gyms will be searchable and bookable on the Condeco app. Employees will be required to sign a waiver, available at reception/security or by using the Gym Fitness Waiver on Connect, before key or key card access is activated.   

We will provide updates on the remaining fitness rooms as soon as possible. We thank everyone for their continued patience as we work on this important aspect of the Return to Office project.  

What will removing physical distancing measures look like in our administrative sites? Will we be able to welcome more people into the office? 

As of July 25, you are no longer required to maintain a 2-metre physical distance from others while working. This applies whether you work in a donor centre, production centre, or an administrative office. This change also applies to our mobile events, trucks and buses.   

Suspending physical distancing requirements means more space will be available in our break rooms, bathrooms and meeting spaces. You may choose to still consider physically distancing from others where feasible. Although physical distancing requirements are being suspended, our sites will continue to manage workspace booking through the Condeco app. In the event more employees want to return to our spaces, Condeco can make spaces available.    

A change such as this requires a lot of work behind the scenes. Although you may see an immediate change in physical distancing as of July 25, it will take time for the organization to adjust some aspects of our operations. We appreciate your patience as we make these adjustments to implement this change.   

If there are no physical distancing restrictions in the office, why do we still need to book space through the Condeco app? 

Condeco was developed to support the return to office project to manage space and demand. With that system now established, we are seeing the benefits of managing and understanding space usage. Although physical distancing requirements are being suspended, our sites will continue to manage space booking through the Condeco app to be agile in responding to changes in the pandemic. We will continue to closely monitor epidemiology and scientific knowledge in the event that we need to reintroduce physical distancing or other measures.  

In the event more employees want to return to our spaces, adjustments in the app can be made. The objective is to understand employee and department needs as the Future of Work project continues.  The Future of Work outcomes are expected to inform the design and use of administrative spaces.  

We ask administrative employees to support our future space planning by consistently using the Condeco app.