With states beginning to relax their Stay-at-Home orders, more and more businesses are getting ready to reopen their doors. For the past three months, millions of Americans have worked from home, meaning this transition will likely be tricky at every level of operation.
How do we keep our employees safe? When will we be operating at full capacity? What’s going to change, and how will it affect our businesses?
It’s scary; we totally get it, and we’re here for you. That’s why we’ve compiled this Office Reopening Checklist — to help guide your reopening and manage this crisis from the inside-out.
Make necessary changes to your workspace
CDC guidelines encourage continued social distancing, meaning you’ll need to keep your employees 6 feet apart whenever possible. This could throw a wrench in existing office layouts, but it’s far from the end of the world.
Take stock of both communal and individual spaces. Consider rearranging your office to be more open, and encourage employee feedback on how best to do this. Ask yourself questions like:
- How many people can be in a conference room at a time to maintain 6 feet of space?
- Does our space allow for everyone in the office to work while maintaining social distancing guidelines?
- What strategies can I use to protect communal spaces? (Limiting kitchen use, installing foot-operated openers on bathroom doors, etc.)
When in doubt, discuss it with your team. Reopening is on everyone’s mind, and your employees need to feel safe, comfortable and heard.
Make office cleanliness a habit
One of the best ways to stop the spread of germs is to keep workspaces clean. When reopening your business, take a long, hard look at sanitation procedures. If you have any doubts, redouble cleanliness efforts.
This might include increasing the frequency of office cleanings, paying a little extra for regular deep-cleanings, or asking employees to wipe down their work stations before they leave each day. If possible, include the following in your new employee wellness plan:
- Request temperature checks before coming to work
- Provide new or cleaned facemasks for your employees at the start of each day
- Offer information to your employees on how to get tested for COVID-19
Let your customers know how this will impact them
If you regularly have clients or customers in the office, this is especially important. Let them know what to expect next time they visit, and be clear (but gentle) about expectations. It might seem counter-intuitive to tell clients what to do, but they’re looking for security just as much as you are. Inform them that their safety is top-of-mind, and explain how your team is working to keep both them and your employees healthy.
Even if you don’t have regular visitors, it’s not a bad idea to reach out to your existing customer base. If changes in office procedure will affect your services, they should know.
No matter what, be consistent in your messaging. Reiterate it across all your channels (including email and social media) and stick to it in the office. Providing clear expectations for office re-openings is an exercise in trust-building, and your clients will thank you for it.
The bottom line: be safe, thorough and deliberate
Running a business has never been easy, but reopening in light of COVID-19 is a whole new ballgame. The good news is that you’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professional support network and get insight on how other, similar businesses are handling the transition. The most important thing to remember is that, when it comes to COVID-19, you can never be too safe.