As of February 2021, there have been over 108 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and nearly 2.5 million deaths. As the world realized the potential for mass spread, many businesses shut their doors, sending employees home to work remotely. In the last year, businesses have developed new ways of maintaining employee experience and office effectiveness, established new methods of communicating with employees, and implemented strategies for keeping people safe. As we enter Q4, many businesses are reassessing whether employees should still work from home and evaluating how to safely reopen.
Before making a plan to reopen your office during COVID-19, consider these six things first.
Are you able to restructure your workspace to allow for social distancing measures? The CDC recommends installing physical barriers between cubicles and desks, using tape on the floor to manage foot traffic flow, and removing chairs from shared spaces where people may gather.
The CDC recommends installing physical barriers between cubicles and desks, using tape on the floor to manage foot traffic flow, and removing chairs from shared spaces where people may gather.
As you make plans for a new normal, some employees may be more comfortable than others with an in-person schedule. Track who’s in the office and make decisions based on real data by employing a digital system for scheduling in-office work days. Wellcome workplace management platform offers a way to pre-book days to work in the office, and data that’s easily exportable and segmented for decisions that best serve your office. For example, in offices with hot desk setups, managers can see who is in the office regularly and assign permanent desks to those who use them most.
Most offices weren’t constructed with the ability for all employees to stay six feet apart. Before 2020, it would have seemed like a waste of space. Now though, it’s important to keep track of how many people are in the building and stop the influx of employees before it becomes unsafe. Workplace platforms like Wellcome allow easy tracking of space available in the office by limiting the number of employees who plan to go into the office each dat and by monitoring who checks in on arrival.
If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, how quickly can you inform at risk team members? If you can conduct contract tracing in-house, you'll be able to inform your teams quickly. Wellcome houses the data you’ll need to conduct contact tracing and communicate with those who have potentially come into contact with the infected individual. Keep your employees safe by ensuring they are notified quickly.
Before COVID-19, your company likely met in person for conferences, weekly updates, and office-wide celebrations. Establish a meeting protocol that allows for social distancing measures while communicating with employees. For now, video calls are still likely the best option (even if the entire team is participating from their socially-distanced desks in the office).
60% of businesses lack a long-term internal communications strategy
According to a 2018 study by risk management, insurance, and consulting firm, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., 60% of businesses lack a long-term internal communications strategy. If your business is among the majority, it’s time to make a change. A successful communication plan is designed to keep employees informed while opening the lines of communication for employee feedback. Set up a designated email address for employee queries, and communicate important information via email and/or letter using easily understandable terminology.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Make a plan for your company’s communication strategy, meeting protocol, and social distancing guidelines before you reopen the office, and you’ll be able to handle any crisis with a level head.