How to Return to Work in a Pandemic World

“In these uncertain times…”

How many times have you heard this phrase since COVID-19 came to the forefront of our lives and turned our world upside down?

Though the phrase itself may be wearing down, the spirit behind it still rings true. Employers and employees alike are facing real uncertainty as they navigate how to return to work, while still dealing with a pandemic. With this, we’ve compiled a few ideas to help make that transition a little easier.

Make a plan

Whatever you do, you can’t walk into that first day back without a plan–trust us, it won’t go well. Before unlocking those office doors, take the time to plan how you will reopen. Assemble a team to help with the details and delegate responsibilities. Identify risk areas, including what to do if you have a COVID-19 outbreak in the office after re-opening. Think through alternative schedules and work spaces. Account for social distancing in restrooms, break rooms, cafeterias, meeting rooms, and other common areas. Look into establishing a system for handling meeting space requests, something a product like Archon can help you handle by keeping track of those requests, and monitoring who has access to a specific space. Make sure the place itself is physically set up for whatever changes need to happen before the first employee walks in. Identify mask and vaccination policies. Determine how to handle visitors. Whatever you decide to do and however you decide to do it, make sure it’s documented and lined up ahead of time.

Incorporate health screens

The health of your employees dictates the health of your office. Make sure you’re incorporating health screens into your return-to-work policy. This can look like regular temperature checks with a touchless thermometer when they first enter work for the day, or proof of vaccination and COVID-19 testing. A more technical solution could include check-ins where an employee’s credentials are not activated until they verify they’re not sick, thus keeping them from even entering the building and spreading any infection. An integration that could help on this end is Steward, a highly flexible and secure way to help you customize your software needs.

Go touchless where able

Touchless technology has quickly become popular as people want to reduce the risk of spreading and contracting infections. Tech companies have stepped up to the plate to provide those solutions to help keep you and your employees safe and healthy. Could you benefit from a touchless visitor check-in system? What about making your elevators touchless with an app like LiftOff? Now more than ever, the time is right to really review touchless technology. Take a good look around your office and ask, “Do I or my employees really need to touch that?” If the answer is “no,” think outside the box and look into those solutions.

Clean, clean, clean

This should be self-explanatory, but it cannot be emphasized enough. Clean everything. Have a regular cleaning schedule. Incorporate deep cleaning on a more frequent basis. Have hand wash and sanitation stations. Have cleaning supplies available to your employees so they can participate in keeping their work stations clean. The cleaner you keep the office, the less likely it is for germs to spread and cause a serious problem.

Keep the lines of communication open

Once you have your plan in place and have identified the areas you need to address, make sure your employees know the plan. Make them aware of the policies in place, the options available to them, the solutions that have been provided, and what the plan is in case of an outbreak. The more communication and transparency from your end, the more at ease they will feel as they return to work, and the more willing they’ll be to work with you and navigate with you.

At the same time, make sure you’re also accounting for their feedback. Provide them a forum where they can express their concerns. Listen to what they’re saying, what is and isn’t working for them, and what would make them feel better. Adjust where necessary. After all, one of them may have an idea that would benefit the company as a whole.

Be flexible and show empathy

Even the best-laid plans will have to course-correct at some point. What works today may not work tomorrow, and though it can be frustrating, it’s important to keep an open mind and look at things from a different perspective. Be flexible in how you approach your plan, and how you approach your employees. Remember that everyone’s world was rocked during the pandemic, not just yours. Prioritize health, safety, and family over work, and set that example. When employees feel their employer truly cares, that’s when they produce the best results. Be kind to them, and be kind to yourself. Remember: “we’re all in this together.”

Interested in learning more about tech solutions that can help you reopen your office? Check out the Return To Work page on the braXos website, where we’ve compiled several solutions that can help you navigate the best way to open those doors. And don’t forget to take a moment to peruse the braXos Connector Library, to see how braXos can integrate with a number of products to best enhance your return-to-work environment.

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