After weeks and months of a forced shutdown, many companies are eager to return to work after lifted restrictions. Employee health topped the list of primary drivers behind adopting a remote workforce allowing staff to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As such, employee health should remain a top priority when transitioning back to the office. Don’t forget to check local guidelines and enforce preventive measures to prevent the spread of the virus. When you’re ready to re-open, follow these essential tips to make the transition safer and smoother.
Reduce Density and Maintain Physical Distances
According to the World Health Organization, social distancing and shelter-in-place directive have played a significant role in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Since having a considerable number of employees returning to a shared workspace is a recipe for disaster, avoid having the entire staff return to the physical office location.
Determine which workers are critical to return and allow the remainder to work from home if possible. For those returning to the office, consider a phased return or implementing a shift method.
By introducing the shift method, organizations can allow more employees in the workplace at varying times of day instead of everyone working simultaneously. The shifts can be weekly or on alternate days that enable you room to allot open-space work areas. Open spaces support social distancing for the people working in the same shift, making them less vulnerable to the virus.
Sanitization is Essential for Everyone
Before bringing anyone back, consider hiring professionals to thoroughly sanitize work areas to help ensure a virus-free environment for staff and customers. Keep hand sanitizers and masks readily available at entry and exit points as well as throughout the premises to prevent any exposure to the virus. Seating should remain assigned and widespread with temporary dividers installed at reception areas and customer check-in points. Remove unnecessary common-use items in waiting areas such as magazines, pens, pencils, and branded promotional freebies.
Promote healthy hygiene practices in general, intensify cleaning and disinfecting efforts while ensuring proper ventilation of the premises.
Implement staff screening protocols such as temperature checks, COVID-19 testing, and/or self-certifications to mitigate the risk of introducing COVID-19 to the workplace. Be sure employees are notified of the need for each to undergo new COVID-19 screening tests before entering the office each day. These procedures should be consistent for all staff, customers, and visitors, and you should treat screening results as confidential medical record information.
Returning to the office is a welcome change for many organizations, but consider whether a return to the office is necessary. Big tech companies such as Twitter, Google, and Facebook have allowed employees to work from home indefinitely.
Aside from helping to slow the spread of the virus, the motives for maintaining remote working capacity are both financial and practical.
Because the future of COVID-19 remains uncertain, rolling lockdowns may occur, especially in COVID-19 hotspots. Attempting to ride the storm of remote working and re-opening would create considerable disruption.
For some companies, the decision on whether to bring employees back could come down to finances. The cost-savings of having a remote enterprise are significant compared to having on-site infrastructure.
Communicate Post-Shutdown Processes
Review and clearly communicate any changes to longstanding policies and procedures as well as strategies implemented at the onset of your organization’s remote working environment. If staff used personal devices for work purposes, will the continued use of these devices be allowed? If employees used company-provided equipment, what would the process be post-pandemic? Will staff be required to turn in equipment, or will they remain in possession of these devices in the event of a future disruption?
The giant remote-working experiment is soon coming to an end and it won’t be easy for many companies. By using cloud-based solutions, you can prevent multiple problems and remain flexible to make smart decisions.
As today’s cloud adoption increases due to the circumstances, it’s beginning to define how businesses will interact in the post-pandemic era. The stakes are high, but if your company is still hesitant about its pathway to the cloud, let us answer your questions.