Back to Office during COVID-19: How to Safely Navigate the New World

As the lockdowns have eased around the globe, many businesses are getting back in gear and summoning their employees back to the office. However, the fear of encountering the viral disease is still rampant and may prove to be a great source of anxiety for employees returning back to work.

So before the employers open up the gates to their business, they must thoroughly plan the transition keeping in mind the vital lifestyle changes, both in work and life, everyone has undergone in the past couple of months. Therefore, there is no tolerance for small office spaces and filled-to-the-brim conference rooms in this new world. Moreover, the employers hold a great responsibility in creating hygienic and safe surroundings in the office so as to alleviate their employees’ anxiety and avoid risking their health as well.

So there are several ways one can ease the apprehension of their employees and boost their confidence at the workplace by maintaining a healthy workplace hygiene policy.

  1. Ensure Masks are Worn by Everyone

Wearing masks can alleviate the risk of transmission by 75%. So ensuring that every individual entering the premises is wearing masks can avoid many people, maybe your entire office, from falling sick.

While there may be some stubborn individuals who may refuse to wear masks but there should be no compromise on the matter. Anyone refusing to wear the mask should not be allowed entry, in fact, post the warning at all entries.

Also, hand out free masks to anyone entering the establishment, in case anyone forgets to wear one. Plus, they need to be frequently discarded so masks should be readily available everywhere.

  1. Keep Disinfectants Readily Available Throughout the Office

Despite preaching everyone to not touch their face and come in contact with a fellow employee, it’s still hard to avoid these mistakes completely. Moreover, hands frequently get dirty as employees move around the office or when they arrive from outside. Therefore, install disinfection stations strategically around the premises, especially at the entrances, to encourage employees to maintain hygiene.

  1. Disinfect the Office Regularly

No matter how much you limit the number of people to enter the premises, the place is still public. So every office surface such as kitchen, restroom, copiers, scanners, tables, elevator buttons, and other equipment poses the risk to hygiene. So it’s necessary to disinfect those surfaces regularly. One can even supply sanitary wipes to encourage employees to clean the surface before touching it. Moreover, one should also limit the number of people utilizing a piece of particular equipment.

  1. Floor Marking for Maintaining Distance

People don’t always keep in mind the social distancing rules as they interact with each other or stand in queue for coffee. A good way to foster social distancing measures is by placing floor markings such as applying tapes on the floor or putting up posters on the wall, that remind employees to maintain a 6ft distance as they go about their business in crowded places.

  1. Make Sure the Work Stations are Spacious

You may have ordered employees to maintain a 6ft distance but it may prove to be a bit difficult as their workstations, desks, and chairs are crammed in a room. You will have to rearrange the entire workplace furniture so they are at least at a 1.8 meters distance. For small office spaces, you may have to tackle the rearrangement creatively. Moreover, you can also ensure that the employees are not facing each other as they work.

  1. Attending Office Shouldn’t Be Necessary

You may be eager to get your business back to where it was pre-pandemic; however, it is not wise to mandate every employee back to work. The fear of the viral disease still looms large and many employees may not be enthusiastic about returning to work.

Therefore, you will need to exercise empathy and sense. Empathy to understand the employee’s fear and the sense that mandating attendance will increase the risk of disease. You may need to carefully assess which employee is required back to work and who can work seamlessly in a remote environment. Some employees only require access to their computers and stable internet access, which is easily available via Spectrum Servicio Al Cliente, to get their work done.

  1. Make Use of Tools for Seamless Remote Collaboration

During the past couple of months as everyone began work from home, you may have become acquainted with a number of digital tools that ensured a smooth team collaboration. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue using them.  As office attendance shouldn’t be mandatory, you can still utilize these collaborating tools to ensure a steady workflow regardless of anyone’s location.

  1. Limit the Number of People at One Place

Crowded places are ideal environments for viruses, for a while you and your employees must bid adieu to communal rooms. Therefore, you must assess how many people can safely inhabit a room at the same time while adhering to the social distancing rules, so you can limit the entrance to that number. Moreover, you can do away with extra furniture that may signal capacity for additional people, and also place floor markers in the meeting room.

Also, tiny meeting rooms with no windows, which were previously ideal for private meetings, should be closed off for a while. As a lack of ventilation in those tiny places isn’t feasible.

Any space that doesn’t allow adherence to the 6 ft. distance rule should be marked and closed off.

If the meeting requires a large congregation, you can equip the meeting room and the employees with conference calling tools so they can participate in the meeting at a safe distance.

  1. Plan Office Capacity

If you require all your employees to attend office and remote work isn’t a viable option, you can plan your office capacity by managing and altering employees’ timings. You can ask employees to attend office in shifts i.e. morning and afternoon or maybe managed shift timings throughout the whole week. Start with asking employees to fill a form regarding their preferred working hours. Moreover, you can ask department managers to plan so the timings of essential teams can effectively coincide with each other.

In this way, you can limit the number of people working at the office at a certain time. Moreover, offering employees a flexible working schedule can help them avoid utilizing public transport during rush hours.

  1. Food Should be Distributed in Individual Packages

Now is not a good time to share food and pick up a snack from a shareable box. You must band shareable food containers for the time being as they swiftly transmit germs among individuals. All of the edible items entering the office should be packed for individual use only.

  1. Communicate Reminders

It may be a bit difficult for everyone to remember the new way of working and the workplace hygiene policy. You can help them by using internal posters throughout the workplace, especially in communal areas, to ensure that employees adhere to the new rules. Such as, have a poster up about reminding employees to disinfect their hands near a disinfection station.

The EndNote

Traversing the new working environment may be the cause of annoyance and nuisance for most as they have to adhere to new rules, and for you too, as you have to ensure such safety measures are adequately followed. But one must also remember the risk of straying from the safety rules. Bosses around the world have a responsibility towards their employees to provide them a safe and anxiety-free working environment, it has always been, but the weight of responsibility has doubled with the threat of a viral disease.

The aforementioned precautions can greatly help reduce such threats to safety.

Baldwin Jackson is a successful digital marketer with expertise in search engine optimization and content marketing. The perfect balance of his analytical ability and creative thinking is what sets him apart from other practitioners in the digital marketing realm. He has helped a lot of small and medium-sized businesses in crafting their digital marketing strategies that are not only cost-effective but delivers results as well.

Baldwin is also a proud father of two kids and a Sports enthusiast. When he is not working, you will find him watching ESPN and the NFL network.

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