12 Things To Consider Prior to Re-Entry into Your Workplace Post COVID-19
by Tim Sullivan, on May 5, 2020 2:19:23 PM
As restrictions on stay-at-home orders are relaxed, and the economy begins to reopen, what are corporate offices going to look like post-COVID-19? We know for sure that office spaces and interactions between employees won’t look the same. Companies will need to be mindful that their employees are going to be very cautious when coming back into the workspace. They will need to take additional measures to ensure that their work environment is a safe place.
Below is a list of suggestions companies should consider to create this environment:
- Install sanitization stations throughout the office, especially in high traffic areas.
- Provide wayfinding on the ground to encourage 6-foot social distancing and to establish one-way travel paths to eliminate back-and-forth traffic.
- Prop open or remove entry doors into the office and office doors within the workspace (if possible) to eliminate the need to touch a door handle when entering and exiting the space.
- Provide additional cleaning services throughout the day. This will help to ease employees’ concerns if they see that their workplace is being cleaned. Also, have your entire office space sanitized weekly or twice a week.
- Introduce a phased-in approach for employees coming back into the office.
- Install wipeable covers and have additional cleaning supplies in workrooms and breakrooms for an employee to use prior to and after touching copy machines, supplies, microwaves, refrigerators, etc.
- Have hand sanitizers, sanitizer wipes, disposable placemats and masks at each workstation or desk.
- Stop receiving personal deliveries of food and packages. Designate a spot outside the office space for deliveries to be dropped off and sanitized prior to entering into the office.
- Reduce capacity in conference rooms, huddle rooms, breakrooms and lounge areas by at least 50% or more.
- If possible, use flex work schedules that allow a company to have half the workforce in the office at one time to provide 6-foot spacing between them and the next closest employee. We can see a scenario that group A would work in the office Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the first and third week of the month and Tuesday and Thursday on the second and fourth week of the month. Group B would be in inverse.
- Provide automatic water and ice machines to eliminate the need for an employee to touch a button to get water or to reach in to get ice.
- Install mobile shields or Plexiglass where needed. (I.e. reception desk, administration desks, etc.)
There has also been talk of upgrading HVAC systems and air quality within buildings. We don’t see this as an immediate task due to the cost to upgrade these systems without more knowledge of the COVID-19 virus and whether this will be a yearly reoccurring virus similar to the flu.
If new buildings under construction or in the design phase adopt these measures, it could give their building an advantage over other buildings when companies are looking for new space. We also think that when a company is building out their space, architects and designers will want to look for material that has antimicrobial features within it as well as material that is “self-cleaning.”
Technology will continue to play a huge role when companies begin to reenter the workforce. Companies have been forced to use telecommunication services such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams during this time, and we don’t see that changing even once employees return to the office. Since employees have been using these services for some time now, they are beginning to feel more comfortable with the platforms. Instead of holding face-to-face meetings in conference rooms, we believe companies will still host virtual meetings using a technology platform even though they are in the same office.
We think most employees will be excited to get back into the office and have that reconnection to their coworkers, but companies will have to take some important safety measures and make them prominent to provide their employees with a feeling that their workplace is a clean and safe environment.