Empty Office - Reopening office cover image

Reopening the Office in Q3? Are you Ready to Go Back to Work?

Going back to work is a debate many business owners are yet to decide to deal with economic recessions and the pandemic. Although contagion is the biggest concern for many, the recession levels are also worrying. First, you should consider two key players in your organization, the consumers and the employees. Are you prepared enough to keep both your customers and employees safe? Are you ready to begin the process of reopening the office?

Additionally, you need to be comfortable spending high costs on the new safety measures before considering reopening your office. In other words, businesses that stayed opened during the pandemic incurred higher costs

Employees need a safe workplace

At least half of the workforce are remote workers and more comfortable working remotely than going back to their offices. This data excludes essential workers. The technology industry makes it easier to work remotely. That includes the Microsoft team, food delivery services based on location, Facebook, and email apps for remote workers. You do not need a lot of creativity and other skills to work from home.

Additionally, a recent study estimates that it’s harder to hire and maintain employees now than it was before the pandemic. It’s the same even with the high unemployment rate. There are different reasons for this. That includes the fear of working while keeping your family and coworkers safe, among other unanticipated cascading effects. Plus, unlike other economic indicators, jobs take time to recover, just as during the great recession. It will take a gradual change before jobs can return to pre-pandemic levels of work.

Conference Room with Covid-19 information on the screen

However, suppose you need to call your employees back to the office. In that case, you need to allay their safety concerns. For example, you can install a powerful ventilation system and plexiglass cough shields. That way, your employees should be able to protect themselves. Moreover, they can guarantee those around them and their families of safety in this post-pandemic reality. Here are more tips concerning employees.

Reduce personal interactions in the office

You also need to reduce person-to-person interactions in the office buildings. That means reducing the number of people in one place at a time and using things like space management to better distance employees from each other. Additionally, you can ensure occupational safety. For instance, you can provide all your workers with personal protective equipment like gloves, masks and hand sanitizer.

Two co-workers avoiding the spread of covid by not shaking hands and wearing masks

Moreover, you can listen to personal demands to see how best to help your employees. That includes the previous way of housing employees and delay in payments. You can find ways of addressing these concerns and offer conveniences.

Start with a Covid-19 boot camp

All you need is thirty minutes to hold the meeting with your employees and relay the CDC’s disease control guidelines. During the meeting, there are a couple of things you need to include. For starters, leaders need to be the biggest facilitators of the new norms. They need to show their sincerity to committing to the new policies and lead by example. That can make it hard for others to protest this change.

Also, your Covid-19 boot camp should include a moral message. We all have someone we love affected by Covid-19. It makes a terrific anecdote and can help change the behavior of your employees for the better. Additionally, it shows the risks of not complying with the new norms. People can then stay within their boundaries at work and dutifully follow other guidelines and safety mechanisms.

Thirdly, you should ensure that the boot camp includes a little bit of practice. That way, the norms will stick to their memories. It’s not just about instructing your employees and office workers. Also, ensure that they understand it’s a compulsory practice.

Besides, your compliance rate will increase by holding the boot camp than in the case where you do not. Moreover, it will ensure the continuation of such safety practices as an unspoken agreement. Plus, you can talk about the current vaccines available to improve immunity against the virus. Anyone can get doses of the widespread adult covid-19 vaccination. That can offer the reassurance of a life post-covid.

Clean the office regularly and hold daily inspections

Human beings are not always 100 percent compliant. It’s up to you to ensure that they are. As a leader, you can go for rounds at unpredictable times in the work area. Then, observe the number of employees complying with the new norms at their workstation. However, this is not a one-time thing. You may have to do it every day for the next 30 days or so until employees feel less need to be uncompliant.

Additionally, cleaning the office regularly will make employees and visitors feel like there is concern for their safety. This is a great way to reduce the spread of the virus while showing employees you care. It will also show individuals how serious you are taking the pandemic and that is they should do their part to be compliant. 

Clean regularly to avoid the spread of COVID - woman spraying and wiping down office screen

Practice fire drills daily

Fire drills are important to ensure that your organization makes the new norms commonplace. Daily, ask your employees to stop whatever type of work they are doing and practice their new behaviors. But this is more so in the first week after the boot camp.

But that’s not all. Ensure that workers with symptoms of Covid-19 such as shortness of breath and fever stay away from your physical office space. Moreover, they should quarantine and take their medications. They should produce a negative covid-19 test before returning to the physical office.

You can also use the recommendation and insights of an infectious diseases expert and economists in your human resources team. Do not take this lightly as a responsible employer. Your organization may need their expertise for the foreseeable future. They can help you understand the new lot of office work and the post-covid-19 workplace. 

Take advantage of digital signage

Workplaces are now coming up with safe, touchless ways of passing their messages to employees and visitors alike. Now more than ever, you should consider using digital signage to deal with the long-standing impacts of the covid-19.

You can use social distancing signage in entryways and work areas to remind employees to maintain their distance. Also, wayfinding signage can help you manage foot traffic in walkways. Besides, signage is very engaging in many places like cafeterias, common areas, and conference and meeting rooms. There are so many technology tools business can use to stay safe.

Final thoughts on Reopening the Office

Reopening the office to both customers and employees can a stressful endeavor during a pandemic. But these tips can help you. Additionally, you need to monitor your employees’ mental health and well-being. That can help you evaluate the aftermath of the pandemic’s damaging effects. You can achieve this by asking your employers to answer questions on topics and trends about reopening offices.

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