With the sudden arrival of COVID-19 and the immediate need for office employees to begin working from home, businesses swiftly and effectively moved their teams of professionals home, so they could productively and effectively continue daily operations without being placed in harm’s way.
Now that some restrictions have been lifted, and new Safer-at-Home guidelines are being put into place, businesses face new challenges when bringing their dedicated staff back into their offices. As businesses slowly begin reintroducing people back into shared-spaces, they do so with the utmost care to ensure their workforces are safe and comfortable. Here are some precautions companies are taking to prepare their employees for a seamless return.
Effective, Consistent Communication
When dealing with any kind of crisis, clear, concise communications are of the utmost priority. Throughout the pandemic, it’s important to continually monitor and communicate with employees through text, emails, newsletters, and via social media. Internal video messages are also extremely effective modes of communication because they provide that (albeit virtually) face-to-face interaction that is so needed right now. Clear and frequent communications also serve as effective means to ward off unnecessary rumors and to also keep employees informed of upcoming changes and news.
With the return of the workforce into the office, comes a great amount of anxiety. After spending months in a contained, safe space, many employees will be extremely nervous coming back into a shared-space. Additional steps to ease the minds of all employees are of the utmost importance during these uncertain times. These precautions include proper safety equipment (gloves, masks, social distancing procedures, etc.) and perhaps outside counseling availability to help associates with the stressful transition. It’s important that businesses listen to and address any concerns that may arise from employees. Remember this transition will impact everyone differently, so addressing even the smallest issue can provide comfort.
Continued Work from Home Options
For those employees who are health compromised, have childcare issues, or may just feel unsafe returning to the office, it’s important to offer continued work-from-home options. While it’s understood, that some employees need to return to the office in order to complete their job requirements, companies must always take into consideration each employee’s individual needs. It’s vital for employees to know that as long as their specific job requirements are being met, there is no need for them to be physically in the office. This versatility is necessary to establish trust and open communication in this new age of quarantine.
Detailed Plan and Policies
In addition to creating a safe working environment for employees, companies must also have extremely detailed plans and policies in place prior to anyone physically returning into the office. These policies and plans include, but are certainly not limited to: updated hygiene policies, social distancing protocols, revised business hours including transition periods to conduct proper cleaning, and revised work schedules to ensure you’re meeting the 50% Colorado issued capacity ordinance.
Hiring experienced COVID-19 cleaning experts should be your number one priority prior to allowing employees back into the office. Although your current cleaning staff may have been acceptable pre-pandemic, it’s important that new cleaning protocols are now followed. Deep cleanings are essential to keep your employees safe. It’s also important to possibly install new, no-touch hand sanitizers, door opening devices and lavatory devices to be certain your employees aren’t coming into contact with anything dangerous. These new precautions will ease the minds of your workforce and also limit your company’s legal liability.
Although transitioning back into the office can be stressful, you can make it as comfortable as possible by taking the proper safety precautions, but more importantly, by reassuring your employees that you’re working in their best interest. By consistently and effectively communicating with your staff, you will help to put their minds at ease and reaffirm that we are truly all in this together.