As offices across Lancaster, Pennsylvania begin reopening and employees return to their cubicles, a mix of emotions are bound to happen. There are many factors that can cloud the excitement of getting back to “normal” and working from the office again. Businesses will have numerous challenges to face in maintaining a clean and safe environment for employees on top of conducting day-to-day operations. To have the smoothest possible transition back into the office, here are a few immediate to-do’s that every corporate business should consider.
Lay out the rules – and make sure they’re clear
For some businesses, it’s been roughly four months since their offices closed. Employees have had to adapt to a whole new way of working and may need a refresher on standard office etiquette. The larger conversation that will need to be had, however, are the new rules that will need enforcing. Setting the standard of what working in the office will look like for all employees and keeping these rules transparent will help make company expectations clear from the start.
For instance, if masks are required while in the office, make it clear to employees that they are mandatory by creating signage for around the building. If employees need to take the elevator to get to their designated work floor, create social distanced markers for those waiting to get onto the elevator and determine how many people are allowed to be in the elevator at one time. Small pieces of information like this will go a long way in making sure employees feel comfortable and safe within their workspace from the moment they walk through the doors.
Reporting illness should be taken very seriously and every business must have a proper plan in place for handling COVID related sick leave before the office reopens. In the case that an employee develops symptoms common to COVID-19 or is confirmed to have contracted the virus, all other employees should be immediately notified of possible exposure. If any employees believe they were directly in contact with the sick employee, they should also self-quarantine. In accordance with CDC guidelines, the work area of the ill employee should be avoided or closed for at least 24 hours. Employees who contract COVID-19 should consult with their doctor and management teams on when it is safe to return to the office.
Keep office traffic to a minimum
To keep track of the number of people entering and exiting the office at a given time, businesses may want to stagger their schedules in a phased re-opening. This means that certain departments will work in the office on a given set of days and other departments will come in during another set. Some staffing agencies, like TriStarr for example, are open by appointment only for the time being. This can be a great alternative for any businesses who are not ready to fully re-open. And if hiring or temp-staffing is needed as the office re-opens, staffing agencies who are well-trained in virtual interviews, as TriStarr is, will be a great consulting resource. Moving to virtual interviews for recruiting and hiring will help to keep the number of people going in and out of the office to a minimum.
Make cleaning and disinfecting a strict priority
One of the very first things to do when returning to the office is to make sure it’s clean. Increasing the frequency of the office being professionally cleaned will greatly improve the safety of employees as well. Of course, all employees should be equipped with proper disinfectant products to keep their personal space clean. But to further ensure all employees are complying with best practices, management can help them out by placing disinfectant stations around the office or posting handwashing warnings. This will be especially important in frequently used spaces or confined spaces like break rooms or bathrooms. And although it might seem like micromanaging, management should also perform daily rounds to enforce cleaning protocols. By scoring these daily checks and making the results public, everyone will be kept accountable for the safety of their coworkers and for themselves.
Re-opening the office may be a tense time, just as the sudden shift to remote work was. Everyone will need support as they transition back into routines and shared spaces. Some employees may not be ready to be back in the office, and managers will have to treat employees with a new level of empathy – and vice versa. Many staffing agencies, like TriStarr, are also trained in HR management and can be a great resource for businesses who need extra consulting during troubling times. The office environment that is created within the first few weeks of re-opening will be crucial for work culture.
Being open to suggestions and allowing frequent questions will help employees who may be nervous in returning to the office feel more at ease. Creating a safe workspace includes helping employees maintain their physical health as well as maintaining a supportive working culture for their mental health. For any company’s return to the office to succeed, everyone will have to be on board with practices new and old.
For more information on TriStarr’s hiring, staffing, temp-staffing, and recruiting services, please visit our website. To apply for any open job listings you can also use our online application located on our website for your convenience. As one of Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s best staffing agencies, TriStarr’s staff members are trained to find quality talent in the area and match them to the best fit possible in the job market. TriStarr is also able to assist in HR management and recruitment needs to help your business find the right candidates. Contact TriStarr today to learn more.