Talks of businesses reopening are becoming more and more real as time passes. We will eventually be allowed to go back to work, in some fashion, although it will likely never be the same, not for a long while. It’s time we seriously prepare to reopen, and the only way to do that is to establish a plan that everyone follows. If you want to reopen, you need to get real about what that means.
Redesign the office to fit social distancing guidelines.
Owners and/or managers need to visit your place of work prior to everyone returning so you can redesign the office to fit social distancing guidelines. Everyone needs their own space, and nobody should be closer than six feet apart at any point. In areas of typical high congestion, consider leaving markings on the floor to establish where people should be standing to maintain safe distance.
Rearranging the set up of work areas may be necessary to ensure social distancing.
Express to your employees that they should NOT come to work if they don’t feel well. Period. Some companies may find it necessary to screen their employees daily, taking each person’s temperature before entering the building.
There are plenty of factors to determine if employees should wear PPE - how many people work in the same space at the same time? Does everyone have their own office with a door? The safest bet is to wear it. Should you require it of your employees, consider providing them with the necessary equipment (masks and gloves) while it remains encouraged, or until they get their own supply. Afterall, this is an added expense that employees may not be able to take on depending on their financial situation.
Make it a priority to sanitize hourly and clean daily.
Frequently touched items and surfaces need to be cleaned on a regular basis. One person can be designated to this or it can be rotated among employees - either way, it needs to get done. Cleaning and sanitizing will need to be high priority.
If possible, staggering shifts could be the new normal. Why have everyone at work at the same time if they don’t need to be? Limit the number of people on site by switching it up.
Allow working from home on a regular basis.
The idea of going back to work brings anxiety to many people for several reasons. If possible, be flexible on allowing your employees to work from home. The new guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety at work may be too much for some people and it could be a distraction to their work.
The only definite thing we know about reopening: we should expect to be uncomfortable. This is an unprecedented situation and we are all handling it the best we can. We cannot stress how vital it is to have a set plan before reopening. These are just a handful of things making up the new normal, and they all need to be addressed before reopening, plus so much more. Your employees are counting on you to make the right decisions - don’t take this lightly.