Whether it’s in the next month or the next year, your workplace will eventually go back to the office. In-person, in real time, all at the same time.
That’s an exciting prospect for many employees coming out the other side of an unexpected sojourn into remote work. But it’s also a highly stressful time for many employees. We may be sick of it, but the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. As an employer, your job is to make sure your employees are safe (and feel safe) coming back to the office.
Here are three things you can do to prepare your employees for a return to the office.
If you haven’t adjusted your layout from the pre-COVID setup, keep in mind that safely working in the office must now account for social distancing. The easiest way to keep people apart is to structure the office with distance in mind.
So, it’s time to adjust your layout. Desks should allow each worker to maintain a six-foot radius from any other worker, and there should be Plexiglass dividers between cubicles. You should also modify the flow of traffic so that workers can maintain social distancing when moving through the office.
The new environment for the office should not feel like a police state, but it is a good idea to decide what the rules will be for people entering the building. Many companies are going with different rules for vaccinated vs non-vaccinated people or employees vs visitors. Depending on your location in the country, your state or local government may have rules and regulations that need to be followed as well.
Choosing a team that will be responsible for managing that process will be critical. Human resources, building admin, and the security team should work in tandem to make sure that the process is safe for everyone and streamlined to move quickly. Security guards should ensure that interactions are cordial and respectful to lower stress levels so that employees or visitors feel comfortable as they enter the building.
Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home anymore. As the CDC notes, cleaning and sanitation are essential to maintaining a safe work environment in the post-pandemic world. This will prevent germ buildup on high-touch surfaces and help your employees feel safe in an office space with other workers.
When no people and no confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases have been in a space, cleaning once per day is sufficient. You’ll want to clean more often if you have:
You’ll have to assess what needs to be cleaned, how often to clean, and the resources needed for the job. Always use disinfectants approved by the EPA.
On a more human note, know that your employees may be going through a difficult transition. Returning to work doesn’t necessarily put COVID-related challenges on a backburner, or the anxieties attached to life in the pandemic.
Your job is to address those fears.
HR managers and supervisors should be prepared to have hard conversations about the pandemic. The best thing you can do is to show employees that you’re approachable and ready to listen during a difficult time, whatever challenge they may be facing.
You should also provide educational tools and resources around the pandemic and safe living in the post-pandemic world. Always rely on trustworthy sources like the CDC, the World Health Organization, and similar groups.
If you’re ready to go back to the office, we’re ready to make that transition possible. We’re facility professionals with expert services in COVID-19 disinfection, facility maintenance, security, and specialty services. Where others see a facility, we see something more–the site where your most essential work gets done.
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