With vaccine rollouts widespread across the country and mask mandates relaxing, many organizations are planning to welcome employees back to the office. As everyone emerges from a post-pandemic life and prepares to return to work, businesses must define new workplace procedures to ensure the return is safe and responsible. From the health and safety of employees to better organizing and conducting business based on a different model, it’s imperative to keep operations running smoothly. Here are best practices to consider when it’s time to return to the office after working from home.
Returning to Work Safely After COVID-19
To successfully return to the office after working from home, organizations will have to adapt to the evolving guidelines from public health officials. Employees’ safety and well-being should be the top priorities. When preparing to return to work, employers should consider these tips to support their employees’ transition as smoothly and as safely as possible.
Craft a return to work notice
Before welcoming back employees to the workplace, create a return to work notice. This can include up-to-date information on local, state, and federal guidelines as well as what the company is doing to ensure everyone feels safe when they return.
Embrace different work models
Whether taking a phased approach, implementing a rotational work schedule, or embracing a hybrid work model, during the transitional period, it’s important to allow employees to work from wherever they are most comfortable. It’s unrealistic to expect the entire workforce to return on the same day, so prioritize a different approach when welcoming everyone back.
Collect regular employee feedback
Understandably, employees will have some concerns when returning to work. As an employer, recognizing these challenges and concerns and working through them can help everyone move forward in the right direction. Ask employees to provide feedback on returning to work and see what areas can be improved upon.
Restructure the office
While many employees are vaccinated, it’s important to still consider those who aren’t. Social distancing guidelines should be established, and properly restructuring the office with enough space and appropriate barriers can keep everyone feeling comfortable and safe. Additionally, businesses may need to re-strategize current policies regarding meeting room capacities and the allowance of outside visitors.
Encourage good hygiene practices
Reassure employees who may be hesitant on their return to work by establishing good hygiene practices. This can involve daily office cleanings, implementing sanitizing stations by high-touch surfaces and communal areas, and daily temperature screenings. Remind employees of proper handwashing techniques and encourage any employee who may be feeling ill to stay home.
Bolster collaboration tools
Over the past 15 months, companies large and small have been challenged with remote work and the tools that make it possible. Many pain points were revealed, and now is the time to bolster and improve communication tools to ensure continued success across departments. Take the time to review communication tools and assess specific needs departmentally.
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