As the economy continues to reopen and more people receive their vaccinations, business leaders are faced with making decisions about when and how their employees will return to the office. These decisions are not easy and employers are reevaluating policies and timelines that involve all aspects of the business. According to Harvard Business Review, some of the questions that business leaders are seeking answers for include: how to handle tasks which are best done face-to-face even if many employees say they prefer to work remotely, what will be the long-term impact on the culture of the dividing work force, whom should I listen to and when? Specific answers to such questions depend on the unique situation each leader faces.
What to Consider When Determining Your Back to Work Guidelines
Experts estimate that 75% of corporate professionals will return to work in some capacity by the end of 2021. What that return will exactly look like is still to be determined but you can expect some level of “back to the office.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, non-essential workers have scrambled to blend their work-lives with their home-lives with no perfect outcome. What was once an occasional work from home perk turned into a sudden mix of Zoom meeting overload, childcare, pet care, limited space, weak Wi-Fi and a public health crisis – all blended into one. Now as we look ahead with some sense of positivity, it’s imperative for your mental, emotional and physical well-being to begin to prepare for a return to the office now. Common practices such as commuting, in-person meetings, coffee chats, networking events and other normal business doings may cause anxiety for those who have been removed for nearly a year.
Making Necessary Adjustments to the Office
Make distancing the “new norm.” While the open concept workplace was all the rage pre-pandemic, separation is the new watchword for business. In addition to allowing employees to have their own personal space, adding barriers may help slow the spread of disease – including colds and seasonal flu.
By the time the pandemic is over, most Americans will be hand washing and sanitizing as a habit, rather than consciously – and that’s a good thing! Promoting a healthy environment means less disease, fewer illnesses and less absenteeism. Keep cleaning supplies available and posting reminders to wipe down surfaces before and after each use is imperative. Don’t forget to keep hand sanitizer throughout the office for employees to use whenever needed. In addition to available cleaning products, have a structured cleaning and disinfecting protocol in place.
If you do not have a cleaning crew already, consider adding one as you bring back staffers. By hiring a professional cleaning, such as System4, you’ll rest easy knowing that your workplace is being cleaning regularly and properly by experts in their field. As an industry leader in commercial cleaning and disinfection services, System4 is well-positioned to work closely with you to create a customized janitorial and disinfection solution that meet the unique needs of your business. Our vast network of vetted, experienced service providers is well-prepared to handle any size facility, whether one time a week or seven times a week.
As employees return to work, either individually or in groups, expect concerns during the transition. For those who haven’t commuted for months, the first week battling traffic may be challenging. For those with health issues, moving freely among others may be frightening. Getting back to a routine may be difficult for any employee, so make sure that you’ve built in some transition time before you start worrying about productivity. It’ll take time for employees to get back to their routines and comfort zones.
The most important role of management is to set the example for staff. Take sick time when you’re ill and require team leaders to do the same. Managers should require employees to take time off when sick and never penalize them when they do. When it comes to the office cleanliness, make sure you practice your “new norm” cleaning protocols. As we move forward, many pandemic best practices can help keep the workplace as healthy as possible. To ensure that your workplace is being cleaned and disinfected properly, contact System4 today to set up time to discuss a customized janitorial and disinfection solution.