The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going away soon, so organizations are looking into ways to normalize their workplace operations again as numerous states across the country slowly lift restrictions and stay-at-home orders. After the disruption on business operations the pandemic has brought the past few months, including making employees work from home, you may now be planning on letting them return to the office for better collaboration and communication.
However, the workplace people left in March isn’t the same one they will be returning to in the present. The threat of virus transmission is everywhere, so you must thoroughly prepare the office for employees’ return, ensuring that it’s a safe and comfortable environment for them to work in.
Apart from keeping your office’s heating system maintained by a commercial heating company to ensure employees’ comfort and hiring commercial cleaners to keep your office surfaces clean, here are some of the most important things you can do to prepare the office:
Stock up on hygiene products
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends promoting coughing, sneezing, and handwashing etiquette. These can be instilled in employees by providing them with face masks, tissues, soap, water, alcohol, hand sanitizer, and no-touch trashcans.
Rearrange work stations to comply with social distancing
The risk of COVID-19 transmission lessens the farther people are from each other because a sick person’s respiratory droplets cannot reach them. The CDC recommends at least six feet of distance between one person and another, so rearrange desks and workstations to comply with this.
Add clear dividers
To further protect employees, adding dividers in front and at the sides of their desks can help. This prevents respiratory droplets from spreading onto others’ desks if one person coughs or sneezes, but also allows employees to go near each other if there’s something they need to discuss because they’re a barrier between them.
Remove common area furniture
One of the things that must be strongly discouraged is gathering in groups, especially if they are not discussing anything important. So couches in the hallways or foosball tables must be removed to promote social distancing.
Discourage sharing office supplies
Scissors, staplers, and printers are some of the most commonly shared office supplies and equipment. The first two are cheap enough, so make sure every employee has their own. Printers and copy machines, on the other hand, are bigger investments. If your budget permits, it would be ideal to add more of these pieces of equipment so fewer people are sharing the use of one. Implementing these measures limits the risk of virus transmission from touching possibly infected surfaces.
Disinfect surfaces regularly
Even if you put all the above mentioned measures in place, your office may still not be completely sanitized. So, floors, door handles, keyboards, desks, printer buttons, copy machine buttons, elevator buttons, pantry tables, kitchen counter tops, and other frequently-touched surfaces must be disinfected regularly.
The safety and well-being of employees are essential in running a successful business. By giving them a working environment that is equipped to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, you can start moving toward a new normal while keeping your employees’ health a priority.