Now we’ve lived with the COVID-19 pandemic for a while, remote working has become the new norm for many businesses across the world. But everyone is now thinking about how to resume normal operations.
Your employees will understandably have concerns about going back to the office. So, let’s look at five key steps you can take to ensure you’re protecting their well-being and safety.
Before you start cleaning and remodelling your workspace in preparation for when the lockdown eases, it’s worth discussing any worries your staff might have about returning to the office.
Anonymous online surveys are the best way to capture this feedback. They'll help you understand what areas you need to pinpoint to allay their fears. You can then incorporate any suggestions they might have.
A clean workplace is a safe workspace, and that doubly applies following the pandemic. With employees self-isolating and premises largely empty, this is a good opportunity to deep clean everything, including carpets, desks, and computers.
You should leave no coffee mug unturned. Be especially thorough around high-traffic areas by applying anti-bacterial solution to door handles and push plates. UV light cleaning and fumigation will also help get rid of any germs that have built up over time while your office has been shut. A thorough clean will ensure your people come back to a safe environment.
Social distancing measures and expectations are only lifting gradually. Therefore, you’ll need to re-arrange the layout of your office plan, moving desks and other office furniture so employees can always maintain a safe distance from each other.
Modifications like isolation screens can help add an extra level of protection and prevent the spread of the virus if it re-emerges in your workspace.
It's also a great time to think about updating your office design and introducing new, fresh elements into your workplace.
Washing and covering your hands has been one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect yourself against the coronavirus. So, ensure your employees can easily access hand sanitiser stations and glove dispensers throughout the workplace.
The virus has proven to survive on some surfaces for several days, so installing ‘no-touch’ controls for bathrooms and door handles will help avoid unnecessary contact. Thermal scanners are another useful tool to consider installing, so you can pick up on employees who are suffering a high fever and should be self-isolating.
Making amenities like hand sanitisers readily available is one thing. Getting your staff to habitually use them the right way is another. Before bringing people back onto the premises, make sure everyone knows the protection and hygiene measures they’ll need to take.
Pre-empt this by sending out comms with simple and clear instructions on daily procedures, including:
You can then reinforce these actions with signage placed at key points throughout the office. Personal responsibility plays an important part in fighting this disease, so if you can get people to follow the right behaviours and stick to them, you’ll have already won half the battle.
The end of the COVID-19 crisis is likely a way off yet. Even as restrictions begin to lift, many staff are sure to be nervous about mingling with people at work again almost every day. After all, that’s exactly what the government has told them not to do for months on end.
However, if you make the necessary cleaning and remodelling preparations ahead of re-opening your offices, you’ll send a clear message to everyone that they can return to business as usual without risking their health.