Deciding when and how to invite employees back to the office is a complex process, involving many factors and risks. However, these big decisions don’t need to give you or your business a headache; on the contrary, if you make a plan in advance, put your employees first, and obey recommendations and requirements, you’ll have a healthy, happy, and productive office.
Make a Plan
Plan in advance. When workers return, will you conduct temperature tests or medical screenings? Will you require your employees to be tested for COVID-19? Consider what new procedures, if any, you plan to implement. When deciding which employees should come back to the office and when, take into account local, state, and federal recommendations, requirements, and restrictions. Consider bringing back essential employees first, and then have others return gradually over time.
You might even consider keeping some employees remote for the long-term. Benefits of remote work include better productivity, happier employees, and improved employee retention. No matter what you decide, keep your employees updated and in the loop.
Employee health and safety need to be a priority, so you may have to make adjustments to workplace safety. Additional special action may be necessary in order to comply with OSHA standards. Be prepared with necessary personal protective gear for your employees, such as hand sanitizer, gloves, face masks, face shields, technology for temperature checks, etc. Create signage to remind employees of hygiene standards, and create plans to minimize face-to-face contact of your employees with others—make sure employees will be able to maintain six feet of social distance. Make sure you are following OSHA standards in your workplace to keep employees from spreading the virus.
Prepare the Workspace
Make sure your employees have a safe office to return to. Before allowing employees to return to the office, deep clean and disinfect. Using approved and recommended disinfectants, go over your entire office, especially areas such as desks and chairs which frequently come in contact with your employees. Use recommended cleaning procedures and make sure your space meets rules and regulations. If there are any new rules for common areas, alert your employees in advance to make them aware of any changes.
Taking extra precautions and planning ahead will make it possible to have a smooth, uncomplicated transition back to normal office life. Your employees will thank you for the foresight and you will be able to diminish the risk of illness in your workplace.
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