It is important to plan ahead to ensure their employees can safely return to the office. While we are all hoping things will get back to normal as soon as possible, our return to the workplace will be different from our norm.
Here are our top six tips to help you plan to reopen your office.
1. Ensure All New Policies are Clearly Communicated.
Ahead of your opening, make sure you have clearly communicated any new policies in an online training session or email. This will allow you to gather feedback and identify any problems so that you can make any corrections prior to everyone’s return.
2. Take Recommended Safety Actions
Once you feel comfortable that your organization can satisfy the three preliminary questions, you should next adopt the CDC’s recommended safety actions. They include:
- Promoting healthy hygiene practices;
- Intensifying cleaning, disinfection (e.g., small static groups, no large events);
- Canceling non-essential travel, and encouraging alternative commuting and telework;
- Ensure social distancing continues, as you should consider installing physical barriers between workstations, spacing out seating (more than six feet), and staggering gathering times;
- Restricting use of any shared items and spaces; and
- Training all staff in the above safety actions.
3. Prepare your Physical Area
Before you reopen your doors, prepare your physical workspace for the return of your workers and guests. The CDC has released guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes. You should review this guidance when implementing cleaning procedures at your facilities after shelter-in-place orders are lifted.
Ensure there is ample sanitization supplies on hand and personal protective equipment for staff who need it.
4. Conduct a Test Run
Before bringing your staff back in, attempt to test the situation first with one or two team members. Conduct a soft launch with people who are engaged in owning the outcome and understanding how it works.
5. Return in Waves
Rather than bringing employees in all at once, consider returning in waves of small groups to make things more manageable.
6. Value the Importance of Communication
Employees will be uncertain as to what they are coming back to. Your communication and leadership is an important step in making sure your teams are as comfortable and secure as possible as they return to the office. Also, communicating the steps that have been taken to make things safe will go a long way towards putting people at ease.