AS Scotland works through the roadmap out of the Covid crisis, returning to the workplace is the hot topic across many sectors.

Some businesses are in no hurry and want to keep office-based work to a minimum.

Take Zero Waste Scotland for example. This week it revealed two-thirds of its emissions were produced by staff travelling to work, so it is now encouraging staff to work from home permanently.

Then there is Royal Bank of Scotland, which has told staff to continue working from home until 2021.

This trend continues outside of Scotland too, with Facebook and Twitter saying remote working can continue indefinitely, while Google says it will continue until "at least" next year.

It is not hugely surprising. As well as minimising risk, many will admit productivity has shot up. People have spent less time commuting, there is less time-wasting and people are impressively results-oriented.

Clearly giving people more autonomy to manage their working day is paying dividends.

But not everyone loves this new working model and for some the novelty is wearing off.

We are essentially social beings, and many are beginning to struggle without the support network and camaraderie of colleagues. Most businesses are spending time and effort on how best to prepare offices for staff to return, albeit in reduced numbers to respect social distancing guidelines.

We must also remember many business models do not lend themselves to home working so for them it is all or nothing.

The hospitality and construction industries for example are only now getting back to business – albeit with the appropriate safety measures, and many are relieved to be getting back on their feet after a long period of uncertainty.

But while there is cause for celebration, it is so important that employers do not lose sight of the importance of staff wellbeing.

I am not just talking about health and safety measures - I am talking about emotional wellbeing and recognising the fears and anxieties around returning to work and being around other people.

Businesses are already in the process of drawing up incredibly detailed guidelines as they prepare to welcome staff back.

They cover everything from new cleaning rituals to policies on shared facilities – and they go into the most intricate detail, right down to whether you can re-use your cup at the watercooler.

One business leader I work with has taken this a step further, by creating ‘reorientation care packs’ for staff.

It is a simple but effective way to communicate essential messaging with a personal touch.

This will undoubtedly resonate more than a copy of a policy document – it is focussed on the individual and enables them to access information on everything from new safety guidelines to training options.

Another way I have seen that personal touch extended is through regular staff consultation. Ask your people what they are comfortable with, what their worries are, and invite opinions on how best to move forward. Show their views are valued.

And follow up on those views by consulting them on a regular basis to ask if your new ways of working are effective so you can fine-tune your approach and get it spot on.

Last but not least, remember the lessons learned during lockdown if you have managed to keep your business running from home.

Embrace what you have learned about becoming adaptable, agile and creative- bring those skills back to the workplace and you will reap the benefits.

And do not be surprised if at least one or two people ask if they can take up the Barbados Government’s work visa offer. After all, in a remote working environment, does it really matter where you call home?

Laura Gordon is a CEO coach and group chair with Vistage International, a global leadership development network for CEOs