women wearing masks

Returning to the Office: Safety and Guidelines

As an employer, it is your duty to assess the safety of the workspace. You must hire professionals to properly clean and sanitize all the spaces that people will occupy. The building’s sealing must be checked to ensure that it is secure. The ventilation system must be tested and cleaned out to ensure safe and clean air. Restroom areas must be retrofitted to allow for proper social distancing, and the necessary items must be provided for regular hand washing.

The viability of your business rests on the ability of your employees to provide efficiency and productivity. Therefore, investing in what you can to give them a safe and secure working environment is a necessary business tactic. Keeping the employees safe and healthy is the best way to ensure that your business stays afloat and has the ability to keep providing quality service to customers.

Sanitize All Surfaces

It bears repeating. Ensure that you have the workspace professionally cleaned and sanitized. A few unscrupulous companies tried to make do with just cleaning and ignored sanitation protocols. Their employees contracted the virus, and they are now struggling to deliver on services and cannot even deliver products in some cases.

Thus, to guarantee that your productivity does not get impacted and keep your employees as safe as possible, you must contract and regularly use a professional sanitation service.   Professional Cleaning   A professional deep clean is necessary if your office building has been standing empty for some time. You may have a reliable janitorial staff, but it is necessary to call in a cleaning service specializing in office cleaning and sanitation. They have the experience and ability to address specialist issues.

Damp and mold are issues that can develop in carpeted offices without much activity. A professional cleaning service would have the expertise to address these types of issues and use the proper cleaning measures. These issues must be identified and dealt with before the employees return to the office. Mold can cause respiratory issues that will make your employees’ immune systems weaker and could lead the way to catching the Covid-19 virus.

Place Signage Everywhere

Clearly written signage with appropriate graphics is a necessity if your business has any customer-facing areas. It is also important to place in the employee-only areas. Everyone must be vigilant to keep their safety intact at all times. Signage can help keep your employees vigilant and ensure that they continue to follow safety protocols in all areas. For example: the break room must not have a limit of people who can occupy it at any one time. This is because it is one area in which people are likely to remove their masks to eat and drink. Thus, this makes it a high risk zone and necessary to monitor the entry and exit from this space.

Customer-facing signage will help your staff to do their work with more safety in the face of consumers who do not follow safety protocols and guidelines. Clear signage gives your employees the power to refuse service to consumers till they obey the companies safety protocols. There will always be someone who does not want to obey the same rules as everyone else. Allowing them to have their way puts your employees and other consumers at risk. Losing one irate consumer is worth keeping your rule-obeying consumers and employees safe.

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After spending so much time telecommuting and with little to no change in the number of new cases, there is every possibility that your employees are reluctant to return to the office. This will be very evident if you take the time to communicate with your employees. Encourage open dialogue and take an open-minded and empathetic, active listening role when they tell you their worries and fears.

Use this empathetic understanding and carefully evaluate your employees’ worries and their suggestions. Then discuss with the upper management to make sure that your companies reasons for returning employees to the office are good reasons. Many companies have reported that telecommuting has improved general employee happiness and has resulted in an uptick in productivity. Evaluate whether this has happened with your company and try to identify which areas or departments are seeing improvement since telecommuting began.

If the staff has been meeting productivity goals and staying effective while telecommuting, then consider easing them into the office slowly over time than all at once. Some companies offer a week-on-week off schedule for their employees. Others allow everyone below a certain pay grade to work from home while the senior staff must be in the office.

Whichever route you decide to go, include your employees in the decisions making process. This will improve the chances of their compliance to whatever measures you do implement. It will also make the process more transparent and help everyone be on the same page. Having your employees support your efforts will help your company to transition without affecting productivity too much.

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