Safely Reopening Work Spaces: What Businesses Must Implement
As governments begin to soft-pedal on movement restrictions and suspend the lockdown across countries, businesses can now take a sigh of relief as the hopes for reopening business activities rise. However, things aren’t going to return to normal. CEOs and business leaders must carefully evaluate what steps they need to take before proceeding to re-open offices.
Returning post-Covid 19 will more or less look like a journey. Business leaders will need to observe whatever guidelines governments and their agencies will put in place to facilitate a safe return. More importantly, they are expected to come up with and implement new work policies that will make re-opening their offices safe for both employees, customers, and the communities where they do their business.
While we considered this matter, we identified about six steps we believe companies can take in preparation for opening their doors to customers again. At times like this, the goal is not to get everything right but to move fast and constantly iterate as you make progress
Create A Workplace Reopening Plan
It is quite easy to get overly excited about the relaxing of restrictions and forget about the need to adequately plan reopening business activities. While preparing a plan, It is crucial to get expert advice from major stakeholders including government agencies, medical experts, community leadership, etc. This allows companies to stay abreast of any requirements from such agencies regarding reopening. The reopening plan should also contain any necessary steps that should be taken in case the virus resurges or any case is recorded.
Put Appropriate Safety Measures in Place
As employees return back to the office, business leaders need to ensure that safety is at the top of their consideration. So many people would be quite skeptical about resuming work and so it is wise to take steps that can help reduce or eliminate their fears. Apart from the basic temperature screening and sanitizing measures, companies can work towards providing testing equipment at the office. By making it possible for everyone accessing your office space to be tested, customers and employees alike would have more rest of mind about resuming work at the office.
Other measures to consider include adopting frequent deep cleaning so as to eliminate any possibility of virus contamination and spread, also redesigning the office space for physical distancing is equally crucial.
Always Keep Your People On the Know
Communication is very necessary in times of uncertainty. People detest being confused or blank about their next line of action or what is required of them. As companies work towards reopening, they must ensure everyone is carried along with the plans that are being made. If there are new workplace operations that have been put in place, ensure that your employees are aware of it. If possible, put up signage around the office to remind employees about social distancing rules and other new policies that will guide office operations. Providing enough information is key to keeping anxiety down and promoting employee wellness.
Activate Critical Staff First
Because of the physical distancing policy, a lot of things will change as regards the number of people physical spaces will take at each given time. With this in mind, companies will need to plan towards reorganizing their office spaces to meet this requirement. This will definitely reduce the number of people that an office or hall would normally take. Ensure that only critical company staff are allowed to resume physically at the onset. Other activities that can be done remotely without compromising standard or satisfaction can be kept the way they are. Another possibility is to create teams and design alternating work shifts so that fewer people are able to stay within the building per time.
Keep Customers Interests First and Foremost
A key to maintaining a great relationships with customers during this pandemic and beyond is by genuinely addressing their needs and fears and allowing empathy to inform all your communication with customers.
Understanding what problems your customers are faced with now and tailoring the right messaging and offerings around exactly that will help them understand your value for them and in essence deepen their loyalty to your brand.
Plan for The Unknown
Because most companies will be implementing new policies that will rely heavily on maintaining a healthy space and practicing deep cleaning, the tendency is high for basic materials that would be needed to execute on these plans to be in short supply or run out of stock. A wise step to take is to ensure that you always prepare for such uncertainties by stocking all the necessary materials needed for maintaining excellent cleaning protocols and protecting your employees. Make the appropriate plans to ensure that you don’t run out of the item you are counting on to keep your office space safe.
As much as it is true that movement and business activities can now resume it is also important to keep in mind that the pandemic is not yet over. And so putting every necessary measure in place to mitigate any possible spread or contracting of the virus is primary as businesses begin to make plans towards reopening their doors for business.