It’s not business as usual because only essential medical workers are allowed to go to work. For the past few months, your staff has been working remotely. As the government controls the spread of the infection and flattens the curve, the economy could be reopened soon. Here are a few things that you can do to prepare your offices for returning workers.
- Consider All Possible Scenarios
Mental preparation helps you avoid panic and rush decisions. The first step to preparing your office for return to work is to consider all possible outcomes. For example, social distancing will be the norm in the office. If you expect all your workers to return to the office, you may have to increase the square footage so that all of them can fit. The other possible outcome is some workers may want to work from home more often. You have to be ready to accommodate such workers.
- Prepare Early
Avoid the last-minute rush and begin preparations early. Don’t wait until the government reopens the economy. If you wait until then, you’ll have to compete for resources with other companies. For example, companies are likely to add more furniture and modify their spaces to accommodate new safety precautions. If you wait until then, you’ll pay a lot more for furniture and construction. Instead, start negotiating with the vendors now. Since business is slow at the moment, you’re likely to get a good deal from these companies.
- Consider Rotating Workers
Even if the government eases restrictions, COVID-19 is still a threat to society. Until a vaccine is approved, maintain social distance and limit the number of people in one room. Don’t bring all the employees back at the same time. Instead, they should come back in stages to avoid overcrowding the office and causing a health hazard. The security guards and the cleaning staff will be the first ones to resume work. Others will be needed in the office are the IT staff and top management. As for the remaining workers, they can come back in shifts.
- Modify the Rules
COVID-19 spreads rapidly in crowded spaces. That means business exhibitions will no longer be the norm. Networking events will have to be stopped or the number of attendees lowered drastically. You will have to change the official rules to accommodate the new norm. How will employees interact with clients since hugs and handshakes are discouraged? How many people will be allowed in the break room and lounge at the same time? You’ll also have to limit the number of people in the boardroom at any given time. That means removing some of the chairs.
- Deep Cleaning
We’re living in risky times. We have a virus that can remain on surfaces for hours. Provide your cleaners with the appropriate safety gear for cleaning. Buy the right cleaning supplies and ask them to do some deep cleaning. Let them clean the walls, doors, knobs, windows, stair rails, office furniture, and floors. There should be hand sanitizers at all entry points so that employees can disinfect before they touch anything in the office. You’ll also have to clean the company network. You see when your workers were working from home, they used the office network to communicate from their devices. Your cybersecurity team has to check all devices to make sure that they’re clean and don’t contain any viruses or vulnerabilities.
As a manager, you’re responsible for the workers. Another way to prepare for the office is to be in constant communication with your subordinates. Tell them when you expect them back and how they will conduct themselves when they arrive. Have a chat session where you address all their concerns about returning to work. Reassure them that everything is fine, and the management is doing everything to guarantee their safe return. Remind them of the company goals, and how well they align with their objectives. Being in constant communication reassures them that they’ll be safe when they return to the office.
When governments start to ease movement restrictions, the focus will shift to the businesses. The whole world will be watching how corporations handle the return to the office. Use the above tips to make the transition smooth and avoid damaging your company’s reputation.