With numerous states around the country looking to ease back to work and slowly lift stay-at-home orders, considering how to prepare the office for returning staff is on the minds of many business owners. Taking precautions and making necessary changes to office design, furniture and procedures will be key in keeping your staff healthy and feeling safe enough to resume a more normal work schedule.
Employers are urged by the CDC to provide essentials for healthy hygiene practices. Provide staff with ample soaps, hand sanitizers, paper towels and face masks if possible. Continue to allow non-essential employees to work from home and investigate the possibility of staggering shifts to reduce the number of employees in the office at a time. Any unnecessary work-related travel should be postponed. For those required to have staff report to an office, here are some suggestions.
Prepare Your Office For Returning Staff
- Make walkways and staircases one-way, using signs and floor vinyl stickers to give instruction
- Adding plexiglass shields or dividers. Furniture can often be easily modified with taller or yet-to-be installed partitions. Contact us at BT360 and we can provide solutions and ideas.
- Remove common area tables and seating to continue to promote social distancing. Limiting elevator occupancy is suggested as well.
- Space desks and workstations such that employees are sitting six to nine feet apart. BT360 can offer suggestions and provide solutions as many of our furniture lines are easily modified to accommodate such needs.
- Erect barriers or partitions to separate areas like print stations if they are in close proximity to someone’s workspace or other shared spaces. KP+ Movable Screens or mobile whiteboards would provide such a barrier.
- Limit in-person meetings and when necessary, space participants six feet apart, provide face masks if they do not already have one and disinfect the area before and after the meeting.
- Draft notices and protocols to post and email to remind employees throughout the day of the importance of good hygiene and social distancing within the workplace.
- Stock up on typically shared items in the office so each employee has their own – scissors, staplers, hole punches, desktop printers, paper cutters and the like.
- To avoid lunch and break room gatherings, require employees to bring lunch in refrigerated coolers that can be kept at their desks.
Continuing Safe Practices as We Ease Back In
As business owners, we can all agree that the safety and well-being of our employees is always our priority. By affording them an environment that provides adequate social distancing, an outlined plan for procedures and the tools and supplies to maintain proper hygiene we will hopefully start to achieve a “new normal.” Continue to follow guidelines by your local leaders. Promote working from home where possible. Remind employees that when feeling under the weather, it’s better for everyone if they do not leave home. Preparing your office for the return of your staff is an important step in phasing back without risking reoccurrence. If you need assistance in modifying workstations or purchasing items like movable screens and whiteboards, please give a call. We wish you the best as we move forward together.