It seems like things might be starting to return to normal, though slowly. Businesses are opening, and employees—many of whom have been working from home or furloughed—are returning to the office.
Of course, this will stir up a lot of emotions. There is still a lot of fear about health and safety. Plus, it is yet another transition that people will need to go through. While there is no possible way to eschew all concerns, there are still some things that you should be taking into account when preparing for your employees to return to the office.
As mentioned above, this is still very much a time of uncertainty. It would be a good idea to prepare a COVID-19 task force that stays apprised of any new information or government regulations. It is also likely that your clients, suppliers, and stakeholders may have questions about your company’s procedures, and you can direct all queries to this dedicated team.
The first thing that you should do is get a floor plan of your office. From here, you can think about high-traffic or meeting areas. Try to redirect some of the natural flow of traffic so you can keep exposure as low as possible. Beyond that, there should be additional cleaning routines and ways for employees to keep their hands and work areas sanitized.
While people have been working from home over the past months, they may have been using personal computers or VPNs. As employees transition back into the office, there may be some issues connecting to the local servers or reorganizing their workstations. For this reason, you may also want to have limited in-office work hours or a tiered onboarding to make it easier for everyone to get plugged in again.
Communication is always crucial in ensuring that employees are aware of timelines and expectations. Having worked from home for so many months, employees are used to a higher level of trust than existed before the pandemic, and that trust must continue to be demonstrated by management. This will go a long way to making sure that everyone feels comfortable (as much as possible). Of course, the new procedures in place may be a bit overwhelming and could require an adjustment period. Make sure that everything is readily available and that employees have an outlet for their questions or concerns.
Now that procedures are starting to have some semblance of renewed normalcy, you may be able to start ramping up your hiring efforts (finally). Having these measures in place is just as important to potential future team members as your current employees. This is undoubtedly a topic that will come up during the interview process. Regardless of whether or not candidates directly ask about the safety precautions that are in place, this is something that you should bring up to demonstrate your company’s values.
The Alpine Group