The recent development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines have allowed society to see something of a light at the end of the tunnel after a long, difficult year. Despite this positive news, however, COVID-19 remains a risk in communities across the U.S. and the world. While many businesses have gradually regained their footing, an office reopening may be moments away from another shutdown if someone inside contracts COVID-19. As such, all individuals and commercial entities need to remain vigilant and take steps to protect as many people as possible while operational. If your business shares space with other businesses, though, you won’t have as much control over these matters. Here’s how you can protect your employees when another office in your building has been closed due to COVID-19.
Acquire Clarity on the Closure and Level of Risk
If and when a closure within your building occurs, do your best to discover what happened and what it means for your business. Your building maintenance staff or the building’s manager/owner may be able to provide you with this information. Depending on the severity of the incident and your office building's size/layout, your office might be forced to temporarily shut down until the other office has been cleared (which may take weeks). On the other hand, your office might be allowed to remain open, just with additional precautions and caveats in place. It’s important to have a plan in place for any potentiality so your business can continue to safely operate regardless.
Create a Safe Route in and Out of Your Office
If your office can remain open despite the nearby closure, do your best to ensure the safest possible route for you and your employees to enter and exit the premises. For instance, if elevators are off-limits, ensure that at least one staircase is usable. If employees typically need to walk through the closed office to enter yours, try to establish another route for employees to enter your office that doesn’t involve going through this closed-off area. These efforts might cause frustration and slow down your operations, but they’ll allow work to continue while keeping your people as safe as possible inside the building.
Stagger Shifts and Encourage Remote Work if Possible
If another office in your building has temporarily shut down because of COVID-19, you might be encouraged or required to limit the number of employees that can be inside the building at a given time. As such, it may be necessary to stagger and/or shorten shifts for the time being. Additionally, you can reduce the number of people inside your office building by allowing them to work remotely -- this might only be possible in certain instances, of course.
Maintain COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
Just because your office has steered clear of COVID-19 in comparison doesn’t mean you couldn’t be next. If anything, a nearby COVID-19 case presents all the more reason to beef up your office’s cleaning and disinfection efforts. You might even hire disinfection services to perform a deeper cleaning and disinfection job as an added measure to ensure that your office is a safe and healthy place for your employees. Additionally, take stock of your current disinfectants and other COVID-19 supplies (i.e. hand sanitizer, soap, masks, and other PPE, etc.) and make sure you have enough on hand to keep your office sanitary and your people safe.
Keep Your People Educated and Informed
Lastly, keep your employees in the loop from the very beginning. The more they know about the nearby closure and your efforts to keep your office safe, the more they’ll be able to remain compliant and keep each other accountable. Keep your people updated on any changes as they come up, give them resources to learn more about COVID-19 and relevant information, continue to train them in proper health and safety measures, and post signage around the office regarding best practices for preventing COVID-19, and so on.
As we inch closer and closer to the end of COVID-19’s stranglehold over our lives, we must be more vigilant than ever to make sure the most people get to the finish line. The Budd Group is committed to helping you get there. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!
For more detailed information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 guidelines and best practices for office buildings, click here.