While the COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to spread across the U.S. and the world, many regions in the U.S. have begun to gradually reopen their economies. In these areas, businesses have been required or asked to implement various safeguards to keep their employees, customers, and communities as safe as possible.
If you’ve already reopened your office in recent weeks, you’re most likely aware of these guidelines and have been following them closely. However, as time goes on, you, as well as others, may begin to tire of the extra steps it takes to remain open during this pandemic, loosening restrictions and exercising less and less caution. This natural behavior can have negative consequences on your reputation and, more importantly, your people. So, let’s go over how to proceed and keep up with your office reopening plan.
Proper testing is one of the most important measures for tracing and mitigating the spread of infection. Of course, testing hasn’t been readily available in all areas, and many businesses lack the capacity to conduct regular testing on employees and customers. If your office does not have the ability to work with local health officials to perform regular testing, you should still closely track any symptoms your employees may have. Additionally, pay attention to local case growth to keep an eye on if and where COVID-19 is spreading within your community. If numbers are going up, you must take stronger precautions.
“Business as usual” won’t be a reality for some time, even if some places have reopened. With that in mind, you may have to adjust your tolerance for employee absence as you proceed with your office reopening plan. Some employees might prefer to continue working from home (if this is an option), and others might fear returning to work until local case numbers have significantly decreased and/or a vaccine is available. If employees are feeling even mildly sick, they should remain home and away from others. These guidelines may put a wrench in the works of your business in the short-term, but they are meant to promote maximum employee health and safety.
As your office reopening plan plays out, some employees may ignore or forget about various best practices, such as proper handwashing and hygiene protocols, social distancing, mask-wearing, etc. While you cannot force everyone to follow these guidelines, posting relevant signs around the office will introduce some social pressure and serve to remind everyone of their importance.
If your office is open to customers, you must proceed with extreme caution. It is challenging enough to ensure your employees are staying safe and healthy in and out of the office -- there is no way of knowing what a customer was doing or where they were prior to entering your office. For these reasons, some offices are temporarily closed to customers and others are only serving customers in a limited capacity or via appointment. If these measures seem too restrictive to you, you should at least post signs outside of your office reminding customers to wash their hands and wear a mask prior to entering, etc.
Both before and during your office reopening process, it’s important to maintain close communication with all employees to make sure they are comfortable returning to work as well as gauge their concerns, hear their ideas, and answer any questions they have. Do your best to maintain this open dialogue throughout the reopening process so you can make any necessary adjustments and maximize health and safety.
Adapting to COVID-19 has been challenging, but many of us have managed to press on regardless. When it comes to reopening your office, it’s important to maintain this spirit of adaptability. After all, we have all learned that scenarios and information can change on a dime. If your business isn’t prepared to make quick changes, it may fall behind. So stay on your toes and pay attention to the latest developments at large, in your community, and in your industry.
Finally, if you want to keep your workplace safe and healthy during this transition, keep up with your cleaning and disinfection protocols. If you hired a disinfection service provider to perform a coronavirus deep clean, prior to reopening, consider continuing your contract with them. At The Budd Group, we offer electrostatic disinfection services, disinfection misting services, standard spray and wipe disinfection, and much more. Having a reliable contractor in-house or on-call will help keep your facility and people safe while offering additional peace of mind for everyone inside.
It’s great news that so many businesses can begin reopening their doors, but it’s important to proceed with caution and keep up that momentum for the foreseeable future. The Budd Group is here to help you during this transition, whether you need a one-time coronavirus disinfectant spray service or in-house disinfecting and cleaning services.
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