As cities around the country start to reopen for business, many companies are developing return-to-work plans that include the safest and smartest ways to bring their staff back. To help you protect your employees, we’ve put together the following ideas along with a number of branded items for your staff to make the transition easier.
Identify Social Distancing Procedures
Ensure your workplace follows all state and local guidelines when it comes to safety procedures and social distancing. Additionally, here are some things to consider:
- Create adequate distance between workspaces and install plexiglass barriers when necessary.
- Direct traffic to maintain social distancing and use helpful signage to remind people to wash their hands frequently.
- Provide practical wellness items like face masks and hand sanitizer for your employees.
- Consider performing temperature checks using a no-contact thermometer for those entering the building (staff and visitors) —and remember that the information needs to remain anonymous.
- Continue to hold meetings via programs like Zoom or Teams to prevent staff from sitting too long in crowded meeting rooms.
- Limit visitors within your building or remove extra seating in waiting rooms to encourage social distancing.
Timing is everything
Even if you’re careful about maximizing social distancing and implementing safety procedures, bringing back your entire staff at once may present some challenges. Before calling everyone back to work, consider bringing in just essential staff that will be necessary to clean the facilities and possibly to reconfigure the office setting, which would include IT and maintenance teams.
Once you have a better understanding of what your newly configured space will look like, work with team leaders and employees to determine how many staff members can return to the office permanently—and whether or not they will need to work in shifts to keep everyone safe. For additional guidance, check out this May 2020 article, in which Work Design Magazine shared a great roadmap to help you navigate the workspace post-COVID.
Communication is Key
Returning to the workplace can cause some concern and stress long before the employee enters your building. To help ease some of the trepidation, it is important for you to communicate clearly with staff at all levels. This includes sharing your policies and procedures for returning to work, working from home, and all other COVID-related plans. It’s important that everyone understands what will be changing and what will be staying the same – and why. This will strengthen their ability to understand and follow your policies, and will ultimately help in establishing greater trust.
Prepare to return to WFH – just in case
The future of the pandemic and the post-pandemic situation is fluid. Maintaining flexibility and remote work access will be critical should staff need to continue working from home to maintain the safety of someone in their family or for those who have been exposed or show signs of possible infection and need to quarantine. There is also a possibility that work-from-home measures may be put back into place in the future. Ensure that your staff has the tools and resources they need in advance. Consider providing employees with items like a laptop bag and computer accessory case to help make it easy to move their computer and essential documents from home to the office and back again.
Start planning for your employees to return to work today by visiting our special Back-to-Work collection on our website here. And remember, that as your employees return to work, they’re going to have questions and concerns. However, by creating and maintaining a solid return-to-work plan and thinking about what’s best for your staff, you will be better prepared to keep your workplace safe for everyone.