Let’s face it: it’s no longer work as usual. Here’s how a few changes around the office can help safely transition your team from Zoom back to the workplace.
Returning to work during these times is concerning and scary. Though nothing will replace robust training and communication to establish the “new normal”, these tips can help build confidence in coming back.
1. Do your night time cleaning crew a favor—enforce a clean desk policy
Asking employees to remove personal memorabilia from workstations will enable your cleaning crew to throughly clean each and every desk. Enforcing this policy may not make you everyone’s best friend, but don’t worry—they’ll thank you later.
2. Keep hand sanitizer at every vantage point
If you don’t see a bottle of hand sanitizer everywhere you look, you have some work to do. Think exit signs—you should never have to look around to find one. Take it a step further and purchase the same brand so all bottles are recognizable. You’ll see employees develop a new habit without even realizing it.
3. Go touchless
Consider touchless options for faucets, soap and towel dispensers, doors, and garbage bins. Not only are they 100 times cleaner, motion sensing devices give you that smart, modern techy feeling. (image: Best Reviews)
4. Establish “traffic lanes”
Think road markings, but for the workplace. Encourage employees to walk clockwise, creating one-way flow to minimize transmission, as adopted by many hospitals during the current outbreak. You can even consider adding floor signage to encourage safe distance standing spots in the lobby, in the elevators, and in front of desks. (image: Cushman Wakefield)
5. Re-orient workstations
If you aren’t able to re-orient workstations to avoid employees facing each other, consider installing temporary plexiglass sneeze guard screens between desks. If you have an open office, opting for clear or frosted screens will avoid any mention of the word “cubicle”. (Image: Nolt’s)
6. Equip employees with phone sanitizing stations
The average smartphone has 10 times as many germs as a toilet seat, and the average person touches their phone 80 times a day. Needless to say, a clean phone is important these days. These miniature tanning beds use UV-C light to clean phones—and they charge them up, too. (image: The Gadget Flow)
7. Tuck away the company swag
Anything that’s up for grabs is an opportunity to share and spread unwanted germs. Avoid the temptation by removing any magazines, corporate swag or pens from common areas in the office.
8. Remove seats
Enforce your local maximum gathering rule by removing any extra chairs in common areas to encourage social distancing. You can store the extra chairs in your largest conference room until the need for social distancing has diminished.
9. Display signage to set expectations
Even if your employees know the rules, visitors don’t. Place signage around the office that will keep everyone mindful of safety. To get started, we recommend checking out the CDC’s series of printable materials and posters.
10. Serve only grab-and-go snacks
The coffee maker, bulk bin snacks, and water cooler are clearly off limits during a pandemic, along with morning bagels and birthday cake. Instead, keep your team nourished with pre-packed foods, such as ones provided by snack subscription services. (image: SimpleSnax)
For the tens of millions of Americans who work at desk jobs, office space will be transformed. Whether you opt for something as simple as removing chairs or as involved as installing sneeze guards—remember that every little bit helps.