If you have embraced flexible working for your staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, you might now be keen to welcome your team back into the office with the lockdown beginning to ease. While coronavirus remains a threat and it hasn’t disappeared, the economy has to begin moving once again. The easiest way to fire the economy after a hit is to get staff back into the office and working at full throttle. Working from home doesn’t need to be banished forever and should still be utilized. Remote working has come into its own during the surreal pandemic days and it has enabled people to remain focused and stay productive during challenging times.
The Covid-19 crisis has seen companies morphing to a new way of working without much preparation. Suddenly, startups were forced to embrace something new in an effort to stay afloat. With the virtual world having opened up, Zoom meetings took on a life of their own, helping colleagues and clients stay in touch in a proactive and meaningful way. While you might be happy to keep flexible working as a policy, you might still want to welcome people back into the office. But how do you inspire confidence within your staff so that they feel safe and protected?
It’s crucial that your staff team know your Covid-secure policies. Send out communications regularly to keep them updated with your progress. Have a date in mind to open up your office once again, and keep everyone updated. Your first policy point should refer to your cleaning schedule. Covid-19, being a virus, requires a different method of cleaning to ensure your office environment remains Covid-secure. Consider implementing a COVID Disinfecting schedule every evening through a deep clean. This involves spraying your office with a sanitizing disinfectant that keeps your surfaces, furniture, hardware, and flooring Covid-free for up to seventy two hours.
Maintain a range of cleaning stations within the office to inspire confidence within your team. If they are keen to sanitize their hands regularly or they want to wipe down their own keyboards, facilitate this. During these surreal days, many people like being in control of their own environment. Keep sanitizers full, remove the water coolers, and have alcohol hand gel throughout your office.
Your staff team might be wary of a lack of PPE throughout society. As a business, you need to invest in gloves and face coverings for your employees. While you might not want to make the wearing of this mandatory, it makes sense to have it available for the staff that feel more confident wearing it.
Many of your team might be reluctant to return to work if they live with a vulnerable relative or if they care for their elderly mother. For these individuals, a face covering, gloves, and a clean working environment will inspire confidence. Their first visit back into the office will make or break their levels of productivity. Be flexible in your approach to PPE and keep policies updated at all times.
Social distancing measures are the most important aspects of your Covid-secure policy. You need to ensure that your office is capable of maintaining two meters between staff at all times. This may mean that full occupancy cannot be achieved. A rota for your staff may work with people being invited to come in on designated days. Staff may also feel more comfortable working from home for three days a week and heading into the office twice a week. Hot desking means that too many people will be sitting on the same chair every couple of hours without cleaning in between so this should be stopped. Seating plans should be enforced.
Sit staff back to back rather than forward facing. This can be strange as we are used to being social and find solace seeing a smiling face in front of us. However, for social distancing requirements, sitting back to back can lead to fewer chances of contracting the virus should a staff member be asymptomatic. Have a one-way system of traveling around the office and keep meetings virtual if there are many attendees. Meeting rooms also need to maintain social distancing to stay safe.
Every business needs to take its Covid-secure responsibilities seriously. If you want your staff to remain productive throughout this crisis, you must communicate honestly with them, seek their views, implement policies, and remain flexible with different working approaches. This way, you can inspire confidence within your staff when they return to the office.