Fall is nearly here, and despite the global pandemic that's still impacting the world, some companies are looking for ways to get things back to normal. That means getting people back in the office. At the time of this writing, there is no vaccine or cure available for COVID-19, so you'll need extra precautions to keep everyone healthy. Here are eight ways you can keep your employees safe this fall:
1. Create Rotating Schedules
Don't start by bringing everyone back into the office at once, especially if you've got a large team that usually fills your space from wall to wall. Create rotating schedules that only bring in a small portion of your team at a time. Either rotate them through various shifts throughout the day or bring them into the office for one or two days a week.
They can stay home the rest of the time. It might take some getting used to, but it will keep you from cramming everyone in like sardines.
2. Take Extra Time to Disinfect
You will need to take extra time to disinfect your entire office and any communal spaces before you go home for the night. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you need to clean all surfaces with soap, water and a disinfectant. For things like electronics where water isn't an option, utilize alcohol or other tech-safe products to kill any viruses on the devices.
3. Ditch the Open-Office Floor Plan
We all love our open-office floor plans and collaborative spaces, but right now, they're potential breeding grounds for the virus. Ditch the open floor plan in favor of high-walled cubicles or plexiglass dividers that keep each person's workspace separate from their neighbor.
4. Provide Disposable Face Masks
We're six months into a global pandemic, and most people have started a collection of reusable cloth face masks and are more than happy to wear them into the office. If your team doesn't have any masks or you prefer they use disposable options, make sure to provide them. Depending on your budget, you may only want to utilize the basic 3-ply surgical-style masks. If you have at-risk employees, you might want to invest in N95 respirators.
5. Socially Distance Your Desks
Even if you already have cubicles, you don't want people sitting right next to one another. Make sure you're socially distancing your desks. Keep them as far apart as possible within the constraints of your office. Remember not to block emergency exits or create any fire hazards. Putting a few extra feet between your desks could help keep everyone safe.
6. Buy Stock in Sanitizer
While proper hand-washing is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus, you don't always have access to soap and water. Hand sanitizers can fill the gaps. Buy stock in hand sanitizer and make sure it's always available in your office for everyone to use.
7. Stay Informed of Any Changes
Things are constantly changing as we learn more about how this virus works, how it's transmitted and how we need to respond to it. Stay informed so you can alter your plans as necessary, even if these changes mean switching back to a work-from-home model at a moment's notice.
8. Provide COVID-Centric Training
Safety training might seem redundant when we've spent the last six months washing our groceries and wearing a mask whenever we're in public. However, it can be a good tool to remind your team of the stakes. Set up some quick and simple COVID-centric training that reminds everyone to wear their masks and wash their hands. Feel free to include any industry-specific training that might benefit your team, too.
Stay Safe This Fall
If getting back into the office is part of your plan for the end of the year, make sure you're taking all the necessary steps to keep your employees safe.
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