With working from home arrangements lasting far longer than any of us expected, it can be hard to imagine a time when we were going into the office every day. But as case numbers decrease, going back into office will again become a reality for many of us, whether we like it or not.
What this doesn’t mean, though, is that things will go back to “normal”. The world has changed due to the pandemic, and an increased focus on health and safety will take precedence above all else. Going back into the office will take preparation, and as a business owner or workplace manager it’s your responsibility to make sure all necessary precautions are taken and your staff are kept safe.
Below, we’ll explore a few ways that you can prepare your workplace for post-pandemic recovery and help your employees make the transition as smoothly as possible.
Establish cleaning procedures
Strict cleaning and sanitation protocols should be in place when you return to the office, prioritizing desks, bathrooms, the kitchen and meeting rooms. You can hire office cleaning services to make sure this task is completed with the utmost precision, with green cleaning products and all the appropriate tools and equipment.
Having a clean, sparkling office space can not only improve office morale but leave a good impression on potential clients and improve your business’s reputation in the long run too.
Follow social distancing rules and density limit requirements
Depending on where you are in the world, your city or state may have social distancing rules and density limit requirements in place. These are designed to safely allow us to get back to our “normal” life while still remaining appropriately cautious, lowering the risk of COVID-19 transmission if someone happens to be positive.
Following these restrictions will not only keep your staff safe but also help you avoid fines if you’re caught breaching these guidelines. The last thing you want is for your entire staff to return to the office only to get sick and be stuck in isolation, so take all necessary precautions as directed by your government.
Offer flexible working arrangements
If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that most of us can work from home while still remaining productive, engaged and inspired. Offering flexible working arrangements (e.g. 3 days a week in the office and 2 at home) not only will help improve staff morale and retention but decrease the risk of COVID transmission in the workplace.
While going into the office at least a few days a week still offers plenty of value and important face-to-face communication, it may not be worth the risk to have your staff back in the office full time when you’ve already put so much effort into setting up an effective and efficient work from home system.
Have a visitor management system in place
While it’s easy enough to keep track of your staff coming into the office, putting a visitor management system in place will help you to reduce the spread of COVID and keep a record of everybody who comes into your workspace.
In case a visitor to your office does end up being COVID-positive, this system will allow you and your staff to be quickly notified and take the appropriate action as soon as possible. It will also help you to enforce a no vaccination no entry policy if you have one in place, and reach out to any visitors to your office in case an employee tests positive as well.
Offer support for employees who are struggling due to the pandemic
The pandemic has affected all of us in different ways, and many of your employees may be suffering in silence without you even knowing. Whether it’s physical, mental or emotional, the last two years have taken a serious toll on many of us and having the appropriate support in place could mean a world of difference. This support could include enhanced sick leave, counseling resources, financial assistance, improved childhood provisions and more. The right choice for your office will depend on your industry and the needs of your staff, but these measures can play a huge part in improving the mental health of your employees and helping them remain productive and passionate in their roles.