As many areas of the world are ready to return to the workplace, there will be new procedures and precautions that must be followed to ensure a safe return. Even though certain areas are beginning to open, this does not mean that the virus is gone for good. COVID-19 will still be spreading, but at a slower rate. In fact, health experts have stated that the virus will stick around, possibly forever.

If you live in an area that has been cleared for reopening, be sure to conduct your due diligence when returning to the office. The world is going to be a different place for a long time. Following this guide will better ensure your company a safe return to the workplace.

Follow Government-Backed Guidelines

Depending on where you live, the guidelines will be different in regards to returning to work. Guidelines are different for each and every city for a reason. Some areas have been hit by the virus harder than others. The demographic makeup combined with the current state of the virus in your area will dictate how soon businesses can reopen.

If your business operates in a city that has been deemed safe to open, make sure to stay up to date on the best health tips. One major issue the COVID-19 crisis has caused has been the mass spread of misinformation on the news. It seems that every person has a different opinion when it comes to dealing with the epidemic. Your local government should be the first source you go to when it comes to learning about COVID-19. Your local government agencies will provide the most up to date information regarding reopening procedures in your area.

Besides your local government, we suggest checking out the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website to get the most up to date information about COVID-19. The WHO has a resource page dedicated to providing as much information as possible about the pandemic. This resource page is full of valuable information including; consolidated reports from health experts, reopening tips for the public, reopening tips for business owners, a COVID-19 heatmap, and more.

Stay as knowledgeable as possible when it comes to COVID-19 and its reopening procedures to ensure a safe return to the workplace.

Become a Healthier Workplace

One thing that has been made obvious throughout the COVID-19 situation is that public places and even offices do not have enough sanitation equipment to prevent the spread of illness.

Once the virus was in full swing, many places ran completely out of hand sanitizer, soap, paper towels, and more basic hygiene products.

As your office gears up to reopen, think about some new equipment that you can purchase to make the office a safer place. While completely eradicating the spread of germs is impossible, you can take measures to decrease the number of germs being spread in your office.

Something as simple as a touch-free hand sanitizer dispenser can go a long way when it comes to preventing the spread of germs. Other tools to consider purchasing are;

  • Touch-free restroom devices (paper towel dispenser, faucet, toilet)
  • Touch-free kitchen devices (Water dispenser, faucet, coffee machine)
  • Motion lights
  • Motion doors
  • A commercial air purifier

Depending on how dated your workplace is, these upgrades may come with a hefty price tag. Do not let money come in the way of providing a safe workplace for your employees. There are many different loans and grants available to help upgrade your office. Different online lenders actually provide small business loans specifically made for equipment financing. When applying for a small business loan be sure to know exactly what the loan entails including loan term length, interest rate, loan relief and more.

Be Understanding

Just because the city that you live in has deemed it safe for businesses to reopen does not mean that every person will feel comfortable returning to the workplace. Some of your own employees may not feel completely safe returning to a public setting.

Be mindful and flexible when it comes to your return to work policies. Do not make everyone return to the office if they do not feel safe. The quickest way to alienate your employees is to put your business before their health and wellbeing.

A great way to gauge how comfortable your employees feel about returning to the workplace is to conduct a survey. Surveys are a great way to figure out how your employees feel about any matter, not just the current COVID-19 situation.

Some questions you may want to ask your employees are;

  1. Would you feel comfortable returning to the office today if the state allowed it?
  2. If not, when would you feel comfortable returning to the office?
  3. Is wearing a facemask something that will interfere with your everyday work performance?
  4. Are you interested in working from home more often, or even permanently?
  5. Is childcare going to be an issue when returning to work?
  6. Is transportation going to be an issue when returning to work?
  7. What other safety measures would you like to see our company take to ensure a safe return to the office?

To gather the best possible feedback from your employees, we recommend that you use a human resources software platform. Platforms such as 15Five, are great ways to create surveys and forms that capture relevant data.

Take some time to really digest what your employees are telling you. Use the data to come up with a reopening plan that truly fits everyone’s wants and needs.

Practice Common Sense

COVID-19 has been anything but ordinary. We have lived just over three months of complete chaos, but we have trekked on. As time goes on and we know more about the virus, it will be easier to make judgments that may impact the health of others.

When returning to work, if an employee feels sick, let them stay home. If an employee’s child is sick, let them stay home. If your employees rely on public transportation, remember that it will be slower than normal and that remote work may be more suitable right now.

Whatever the case may be, try to be mindful and courteous of the people you employ. You never know what someone may be going through right now.

Remaining knowledgeable and immersed both in your business and with the COVID-19 situation will allow you to make quicker decisions and to practice common sense. Right now it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

Remember this: everyone is in this fight together! If a coworker, family member, community member, or anyone else needs help, offer a helping hand, you never know what it could mean to somebody.

Ron Cullimore