For some returning to work after COVID-19 may be anxiety inducing and for some businesses it can be quite a debacle. To ease the transition from shutdown or remote work to being back in the office, we bring you a 6 step plan on what to do to insure your office and employees are prepared to return.
Make the Workplace Safe
- Deep clean the office before employees return
- Increase daily cleaning
- Have daily cleaning standards of desks and common spaces
- In a shared offices, determine cleaning responsibilities with your landlord and other building tenants
- Ensure you have current and correct emergency contact information for every employee
- Have and share risk mitigation strategies for employees commuting by public transit, carpooling or ride sharing
- Communicate rules for shared kitchen use to all employees and post them in the kitchen area
- Decide how, if at all, to enforce social distancing in areas where employees congregate (e.g. water cooler, break room, photocopy room)
Encourage Good Hygiene
- Order hygiene products to have on-hand (e.g. hand sanitizer, paper towels, hand soap, disinfectant wipes, tissues, masks)
- Lead by example
- Hang posters in common spaces on the best practices in regards to health and hygiene, for example; hand washing practices, not coming into work if sick and coughing and sneezing. WHO has a couple of downloadable resources here.
- Face masks? If so, decide who will supply and replace/launder them and enforce correct use?
Update Policies and Procedures
- Reorganize office layout to give employees more space between work stations and/or install sneeze guards between spaces
- Limit the number of employees in meeting rooms and encourage large meetings to be held via video conference
- Update visitor policies: are delivery people, clients or employee family and friends allowed in the workplace? Is there a way to make deliveries contactless? These are good questions to ask yourself.
Support Employees’ Restore Productivity Mental Health
- Be aware of mental health issues that can arise from periods of isolation
- Share resources for employees who are struggling with their mental health or with stress during this time
- Decide what to do with employees who feel unsafe returning to work
- Offer mental health leave
- Get employees back to their routines with as little interruption as possible
- Offer exercise and mindfulness resources
- Take inventory of devices and equipment coming back into the office
Encourage Social Interaction
- Bring employees back in stages and/or on rotating shifts
- Allow employees work time to celebrate and reconnect whilst practicing social distancing
- Plan bonding activities which are safe, like talent show, problem solving activity or quiz etc.
- Taking Care of Your Emotional Health
- Wellness in the Workplace
- Building Resilience
- The Gratitude Attitude
Any other tips you can think of that might help businesses create the best return to work plan? We are all in this together.