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Whether it’s in the next month or the next year, your workplace will eventually go back to the office. In-person, in real-time, all at the same time.

That’s an exciting prospect for many employees coming out the other side of an unexpected sojourn into remote work. But it’s also a highly stressful time for many employees. We may be sick of it, but the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. As an employer, your job is to make sure your employees are safe (and feel safe) coming back to the office.

Here are three things you can do to prepare your employees for a return to the office.

Adjust the Layout and Flow of Traffic

If you haven’t adjusted your layout from the pre-COVID setup, keep in mind that employees returning to the office can feel safer working in an office that accounts for social distancing. The easiest way to keep people apart is to structure the office with distance in mind.

Where possible, desks should allow each worker to maintain a six-foot radius from any other worker. You should also consider the flow of traffic so that workers have the ability to maintain social distancing when moving through the office.

Develop Cleaning Routines

Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home anymore. As the CDC notes, cleaning and sanitation are essential to maintaining a safe work environment in the post-pandemic world. This will prevent germ buildup on high-touch surfaces and help your employees feel safe in an office space with other workers.

When no people and no confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases have been in a space, cleaning once per day is sufficient. You’ll want to clean more often if you have:

  • High COVID transmission in your community
  • Low adherence with mask guidelines
  • Infrequent hand hygiene
  • A population at a higher risk of COVID infection, such as the elderly

You’ll have to assess what needs to be cleaned, how often to clean, and the resources needed for the job. Always use disinfectants approved by the EPA.

Be Prepared to Provide Resources

On a more human note, know that while there might be many employees itching to get back in the office, other employees may be going through a difficult transition. Returning to work doesn’t necessarily put COVID-related challenges on the back burner, or the anxieties attached to life in the pandemic.

HR managers and supervisors are better served if they listen to and address those fears. The best thing you can do is to show employees that you’re approachable and ready to listen during a difficult time, whatever challenges they may be facing.

Educational tools and resources around the pandemic and safe living in the post-pandemic world are available from trustworthy sources like the CDC, the World Health Organization, and similar groups.

Are You Ready to Go Back to the Office?

The answer to questions like this should always be about your people. Whatever the right decision is for your employees is the right decision for the company and the business. 

Ready to take a smarter approach to your employees’ benefits? Click here to get started.

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