The much anticipated moment has finally arrived.
Months of isolation and working from home have ended, and you’ve been given the green light to reopen your office. Awesome! Now what? There is so much to consider.
Just because you are allowed to reopen your office, does not mean things will suddenly be back to normal. Many employees will be faced with hindrances that will keep them from either wanting or being able to return to normal office hours. Most schools, summer camps and childcare facilities remain closed, leaving working parents with a serious dilemma.
Even with the possibility of childcare options, parents may feel hesitant to have their children participate. Many are at odds over what is the safest choice. Ongoing concerns about Covid-19 leave many employees questioning whether it really is the right time to come back to the office.
And of course, office etiquette will look a bit different upon returning. Chatting around the water cooler, catching up in the break room, and even staff meetings are going to be limited to maximum numbers of 1 or 2 persons at a time. Get used to six-feet-apart social distancing signage throughout the office; bottles of neon green hand sanitizer around every corner; and an ample number of hand washing reminders at every sink.
Bottom line: It’s a tricky transition that has its fair share of challenges.
Here are some tips from our MC2 Operations Director on how to help your team get back to the office safely and seamlessly:
Communication Is Key
Don't keep your employees and customers guessing, clearly communicate your reopening plan. Communication is a cure for anxiety in the workplace. Transparency is vital to helping your employees know what to expect.
Take it Slow
If at all possible, don't rush everyone back at once. Some employees may be uncomfortable with returning immediately--reassure them that's okay. Communicate to your team that--eventually--everyone will need to return to the office. But in the meantime, be as accommodating as possible if the situation allows.
Get Your Office Ready
Due diligence and preparation is absolutely critical to ensure your office is a safe and inviting space when employees return. Here are some steps you can take:
- Hang signage reminding people to adhere to specific hygiene protocols.
- Limit the number of employees allowed in conference rooms or other common areas.
- Provide gloves, anti-bacterial wipes, and hand sanitizer and encourage a cooperative spirit to keep the office clean.
- Spread desks and workstations out to ensure social distancing. If this is not possible, consider a rotating schedule to limit how many people are in the office at a one time.
Roll with the Punches
The requirements and conditions surrounding Covid-19 are constantly evolving--it often feels like one step forward, two steps back. Be prepared at any time to transition back to “work from home” procedures if an employee gets sick or the government revises the guidelines.