With more employees getting vaccinated, many companies are now thinking of opening up their workspaces gradually. Here are certain things to keep in mind when you prepare for a return to the office:
Have an in-depth reopening plan:
Reopening plans are not something that employers had to think about in the past. But now it has become something that demands absolute attention. After you decide to open the office, the next step is to form a detailed reopening plan. This plan will include all the do’s and don’ts that employees should follow to have a safe return to the office.
Appoint an expert team:
Many companies have formed specialized pandemic teams whose responsibility lie in supervising the employees remotely. If you have not created one yet, make sure that you have a team of experts ready to handle the return of the workforce to the workplace. This team will be responsible for making all the arrangements necessary for a smooth return to the office.
Ask employees for feedback:
Get in touch with the employees before you decide whether to open the workspace or not. Avoid enforcing your opinions on others. Seek others’ opinions on whether they are comfortable returning to the office. Give people the freedom to continue work from home too. Be open to suggestions and try to incorporate them for the betterment of all employees.
Support your employees when they enter the office after a long interval. Take care of their mental health. For this, you can conduct workshops with mental health counsellors or can even organize fun sessions with all your teams. While giving utmost importance to the health and wellness of your employees, you can also go the extra mile and make arrangements for the vaccination of employee family members if they are not vaccinated.
Think about partial reopening:
Decide how you would be handling the reopening of the workplace. You can schedule specific days for specific groups to return to the office. Make sure that the office is properly sanitized after the departure of each team. Put adequate emphasis on safety protocols and make sure that you follow all social distancing rules at the workplace.
Redesign the office space:
Move away from traditional cubicles and meeting rooms. Go for large, open areas where employees can remain distant and yet remain connected. Offering private space for employees who are more comfortable in working in a closed, personal space. Reconfigure the conference rooms and refurbish the reception area. Make sure that places like the cafeteria and lounges are set in open areas to support community living.
Make arrangements to ensure safety:
Check how you can improve ventilation and air filtration in your office. Abide by all the necessary health protocols and make arrangements for employees to observe social distancing. Have a good stock of essential safety items such as gloves, masks, hand sanitisers etc. You can also put into use glass barriers in particular spots in the workplace to limit the interactions between employees.