With the ongoing vaccination programmes and easing government restrictions in many countries, companies are preparing to transition their workforce back to the office.
However, bringing people back to the office is not as simple as it sounds. The threat of the virus still looms large as well as other, new challenges. Therefore, management needs to be flexible and prioritise their employees’ health, safety, and well-being.
Read on for essential tips for successfully transitioning back to the office in a post-COVID-19 world.
Promote a Hybrid Work Model
As you try to get your employees back to the office, it’s a good idea to embrace the new ‘hybrid reality’ that allows a blend of remote and in-office work. It has already become evident that allowing employees to work from their home environment is the best way to sustain their productivity. Therefore, letting employees work from home unless there is a pressing need to be present in the office can minimise health risks while boosting their productivity. Maintaining a few remote workers also helps the business financially, as it reduces hygiene and safety measures as well as other expenses involved with having employees work on site.
Install Touch-free Security Systems
Some security systems such as biometrics and keypads can pose a huge risk of transmitting infections. Therefore, it’s important to adopt a touch-free security system that reduces the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases. Proximity access control, a wireless technology that enables access control devices to interact with each other wirelessly, is a safer option than biometrics and fingerprint access control devices. All employees have to do is to present their card within the reading range.
Encourage Social Distancing
Social distancing is one of the most effective yet simple practices that you can implement to ensure the safety of your employees. If the size of your office and the number of employees do not give your many options to implement social distancing, it’s better to divide your staff into different shifts. Another option is to have alternating work schedules by splitting the days when employees will physically work in the office, and having them work from home on other days.
If space is not an issue at your office, then you can simply make staff seating arrangements two metres apart to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. You can also identify essential personnel and introduce their presence in the office in stages during the transition. For example, you may only have essential workers on site in the initial stages, and later introduce other staff back into the office. Finally, you should keep close control over the number of customers and visitor allowed on site. Having virtual meetings with clients may be a safer alternative.
Thoroughly Clean and Sanitise the Office
It is essential to clean and sanitise the workplace before reopening it to your employees. You should also encourage your employees not to share phones, pens, or other supplies to minimise the risk of infection. Instructing them to sanitize the shared equipment and to reduce the number of people in shared areas like pantry and washrooms is also essential. Installing Plexiglass barriers to divide employee areas and separation between reception and guests at the entry areas can also reduce infection risk.
Promote Good Hygiene
Encouraging exemplary hygiene practices in your workplace will promote a healthy and safe environment for your employees and clients. Providing them with facilities to wash their hands and supplying hand sanitisers is essential to reduce virus infection. Employees must also stay home if they’re unwell. Keeping a stock of essentials like disinfectant wipes, hand sanitisers, hand soaps, paper towels, tissues, and face masks also helps to provide a hygienic environment. Providing guidelines about the new practices implemented in the workplace is another key measure. Posters to educate staff and clients on healthy practices and common COVID-19 symptoms can be helpful.
Perform Health Screenings for Both Employees and Clients
Even if you tell your employees to stay home if they feel sick, they may be unwell even if they don’t have any symptoms. In this way, temperature screening at the office entrance is an effective way to identify individuals who are unwell without knowing it. This can reduce greatly the risk of spreading the infection. You should also ask employees to work from home for two weeks after travelling or any contact with someone who is unwell or displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 outbreak has forced us all to adapt to a new normal. However, there is no choice but to adapt to this new reality to keep ourselves safe and healthy. It is essential to ensure a safe environment for the employees who come back to the office post-COVID. It is everyone’s responsibility to follow hygiene practices at the workplace and make a smooth, healthy transition from working from home to the office.