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Reintegration to the Workplace

Many of us are eager to return to our offices, but before we can do that there are necessary steps that must be taken in order to ensure everyone’s safety.

Before bringing their team back to work, companies must examine the objectives in allowing people to safely return to the office:

  • Productivity
  • Reduction of fear and stress
  • Innovation and focus on culture

An office in a multi-tenant building and one in a corporate campus will require different responses in planning but each will have a few commonalities.   Companies must focus on the 3 drivers below to bring the people back to the office safely:

#1 Space design that offers greater separation from others

#2 Flexible work schedules and locations to reduce the number of people in a space at one time

#3 Hyper-focus on health and safety issues

Workplace assessment

The first step is toLexamine what your office looks like today, how it functions and what could be done to meet the objectives as you prepare to reintegrate in the coming weeks.

Dynamic thinking is needed to achieve workstation de-densification, workplace reorganization and assigned seating especially if your office has formally used shared and hoteling workstations.

You must maintain social distancing in share areas such as conference rooms and this can be done by spacing out seating and limiting meeting attendees.

Furniture procurement and/or fabric changes may need to be made. Fabric is not a good choice because of its ability to hold onto the virus and difficulty of cleaning. Choose instead surfaces that can be cleaned easily and regularly.

Map out and examine the Inter-Office traffic flow to avoid congestion.

Asses the communal areas such as cafeterias and coffee stations. These areas may have to be closed for a while.

Examine the ventilation and air quality of the workspace. Good air flow is essential to minimize the spread of the virus. Consider adding HEPA filters where needed.

Eliminate tech sharing by providing individual mouse, keyboard, headset, etc.

Deployment and Safety Protocols

Have a clear Workplace Guideline ready before people return. Communication is key, so they understand the “new normal” and the changes that have to be made. Consider requiring an awareness and training session to understand the new protocols and how they will be enforced.

If at all possible, staggered work times and/or days, to reduce the number of employees in the office at the same time. Implement shift working where feasible. Avoid starting hours at the busiest commuting times of the day.

Institute cleaning protocols for workstation policy to maintain hygiene, remove clutter and keep hand sanitizer dispensers in plain view. Centralizing trash and recycling bins with frequent disposal can slow disease transmission. No-touch options, where available, should be considered for doors, badge readers and garbage/recycling bins, etc.

If no formalized visitor protocols or badge requirements exist, consider controlling access to the office via signage for phone-in entry. Signage can also help remind and enforce the new protocols and should be used throughout the space.

Provide PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) such as gloves and masks to your returning employees.

Help from your Landlord

Talk to them about HVAC upgrades, more frequent cleaning (especially to building common areas), and screening procedures at building entries or visitor management systems.

Help from Hereva

Having a hard time coming up with a comprehensive workplace strategy and necessary assessments? We can help! Let us help you make sense of the OSHA and CDC directives, and how they apply to your unique situation. We can also help you source vendors for changes you may need to make to furniture and equipment.

Contact us today and let us get to work bringing you back to work.

Additional resources

Massachusetts Reopening Plan https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-massachusetts