How can you reopen your office and keep your staff safe?
The return to the workplace is without a doubt one of the hottest topics right now. COVID-19 restrictions are being eased and the government has sought to positively encourage people to return to office life. For employers this presents plenty of opportunities but there are also challenges in there too – how can you reopen your office and keep your staff safe under the current circumstances?
It’s essential to be prepared
Reopening an office is not something that can be done without planning these days – every office space is different and it’s essential that you are prepared in advance for the opening. The priority is going to be easing the transition back into the workplace for staff and also ensuring that your office is a safe and COVID-free environment. This could involve bringing systems and infrastructure back online, testing and updating to ensure everything is fully functioning and ensuring that your operations can go ahead without individual risk.
Office landscapes may need to change
Social distancing has become commonplace now and this is something that you will need to integrate into your office environment before the space is reopened if you want to keep staff safe. Changing entry points to the building and reconsidering the use of stairs and lifts may be essential, for example. The configuration of internal spaces is likely to need to change to accommodate social distancing between desks and even the installation of screens. You may need to consider reducing occupancy numbers quite substantially to accommodate these requirements or look at bringing employees back to the office in shifts – this can be combined with changes that may be made to policies on working from home and flexible working.
The question of building operations
We have been out of the office for some time so it may be necessary to re-evaluate the way building operations function and whether this will work with the new COVID-driven requirements. What processes and procedures are going to need to be updated to ensure that everyone is safe? It’s important to remember that this isn’t just about your staff and any visitors to the building but contractors and suppliers who might be temporarily present too.
Making your employees feel welcome
Your staff may have been working from home for some time now and many may be nervous about returning to the workplace. It’s going to be important to provide visible reassurance when it comes to the fact that your business has taken effective steps to keep the workforce safe. Increasing the number of hygiene stations and spacing out entry and exit from the building to avoid overcrowding are two very basic ways to do this. Technology can play a big role in helping to keep employees safe too, whether that’s thermal imaging to check temperature checks on arrival or using it to help employees maintain distance from one another.
Keeping staff safe and happy is a priority as work force begin to return to the office and commercial office fit out can help make that simpler.