Practical Considerations For Re-Opening The Office
Following COVID-19 most offices around the world closed, many things have moved to remote working, and people have had to get used to a new way of working. However, as restrictions lift, many companies are eager to get back to business as usual.
For some, this means re-opening the office. However, there are practical considerations for re-opening an office while the pandemic is still at large. It is essential that you take reasonable measures to keep everybody safe.
Step one: Designate a person or team
Someone needs to be responsible for the return to office plan, ideally a team that includes someone from IT, HR and administration as well as a senior member who can put company-wide policies in place.
Step two: Consider federal and state regulations
Review all relevant legislation and make sure that you are in-keeping with advice and regulations that apply to your organization.
Step three: Assess what is right for your organization
While offices are opening up, companies could still be held liable if they do not take the proper precautions to slow the virus. You will need to keep the office space sterilized, and staff may need to stick to one seat. Another consideration could be mandatory facemasks in the office.
You’ll likely have seen that facemasks are available in numerous designs, and each employee may have a preferred fit. If you take a look at these facemasks from brooklyn-equipment.com, you can grab a range of options to ensure everyone in the office feels safe and comfortable.
Step four: Decide what staff come into the office on what days
You may need to allow staff to work from home, perhaps different staff coming into the office on different days so that there is always plenty of room for people to socially distance. Furthermore, high-risk staff should still have the option to work from home. To prevent this from becoming confusing, have clear guidelines in place, to begin with.
Step five: Create clear guidelines for who is prohibited from returning
Make it clear who is prohibited from coming into the office. For example, are high-risk staff barred from the office? You should make it clear that anyone who has symptoms or has been in contact with anyone with symptoms should stay at home until they have had a negative test.
Step six: Decide regulations for caregivers
Parents and people with caregiving needs may need more adjustments than usual. You will need to put regulations in place so that the guidance is clear and fair.
Step seven: Decide whether you want to incorporate temperature checks
Some employers are testing temperatures and symptoms before staff enter the workplace. Furthermore, some local laws are making this a requirement.
Step eight: Create a cleaning plan
Routine deep cleaning will be a requirement; if someone becomes sick, you may need to do this in the middle of the day. You will need to make sure that the correct systems are in place. Furthermore, if you are in a shared building, you will need to speak to the landlord and make sure that the rest of the building where your staff will be, i.e. the doorway, the stairs, the lift, are all being adequately cleaned also.
Step nine: Reconfigure workspaces
Review your floor plan and make sure that staff are distanced from each other. You may also need to create a one-way system around your office if necessary.
Step ten: Consider commutes
You may want to stagger starting and finishing times so that staff do not have to commute on public transport at peak times.
There are lots of things to consider before you re-open your office. You will also need to be prepared for guidance to continue to change and develop.
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