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Our economy is waking up, and with the promise of vaccinations coming to fruition, so are workplaces around the country. For over a year, many (if not most) non-essential employees have been working from home. The transition back to a brick-and-mortar location is not a simple process. Last March, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and little was known about its properties. But armed with much more knowledge, many businesses are contemplating re-opening their physical locations. Think about these considerations for returning to the workplace for employers before opening your doors.
Keep Your Team Connected Safely
With the pandemic came breakthroughs in technology and access that allowed employees to collaborate remotely. Now that these technologies are in widespread use, employers can extend them to the office space. Collaborative software has opened a world of possibilities regarding everyday remote communication. Jumping on a video call is now commonplace for most who have worked at home. And the same should be true in the workplace. While the temptation to hold hallway or water cooler meetings will always be there, you can cut these to a minimum using collaborative software.
Few workplaces are working at full capacity. Returning to work will not look the same as it did last March when everything came to a screeching halt. Many companies will be using rotating shifts and staggered start times, and some workers will likely stay remote. Not everyone is comfortable around germs in the workplace and their own ability to stay safe. Because of the further separation of teams during re-opening, keeping the groups together is essential while moving from a remote to a physical workplace. Remain digital while opening so that all team members can stay on the same page during the shuffle, whether at their desk or at home.
Clarify Policies Through Internal FAQs
The new return-to-work policies can be extensive, and word-of-mouth will not be effective in disseminating them. When an employee has a question on the post-COVID safety policies, you should provide a standard document for the most current procedures. FAQs are only helpful if the information is accurate. Encourage staff to ask questions so that you know what is on their mind and then update the FAQs accordingly.
Hopefully, these strategies have provided you with a framework for opening your business in the post-COVID era. There are many considerations for returning to the workplace for employers to take under advisement. Do not be afraid to consult a professional who can guide you in opening your business. In due time, you’ll have a thriving brick-and-mortar location. Still, an outbreak in your building would undermine employee confidence and likely close the site for an indeterminate period, so open slowly and stay safe.