Returning to the Workspace – How You Should Plan It Out

ARC India | September 29, 2020

Navigating through the corona virus pandemic and trying to get back our lives to normal in the post Covid-19 world will be one of the biggest challenges of our times. In order to keep their operations going, while keeping their employees protected, most companies have adopted new ways of working. This in turn has left their stores, offices, factories and warehouses relatively empty. Amidst the growing economic turmoil, small and medium sized businesses are striving hard to get their businesses back to normal. Some however have started to believe that this “back to normal” is now only a myth as we will have to live with the uncertainties as long as a cure has been discovered.

It is the management teams who bear the primary responsibility to guide their teams through this disruption. It is their responsibility to determine how and when they are going to start the complex task of preparing their workplace for return of their employees once the government restrictions have been lifted. But the board of directors have a crucial role to play here. In order to be able to perform their important oversight duties, corporate boards are required to understand the problems their executives are trying to solve as they plan to take their workforce from this situation of crisis to recovery.

How will you put safety first?

The health and safety of your workforce will be your top priority as you start considering how to bring your business back to normal. This has now become more of a legal and ethical concern for businesses. From the perspective of a business owner, safeguarding the health and life of employees is of paramount importance as no return to work program can be successful without them. Your employees are counting on you to help them get back to work safely. Management teams are required to understand and ensure that compliance is met as the government restrictions get lifted. As these rules vary from one state to another and relaxations probably will not come in unison, business owners need to plan for a number of scenarios based on where a mission-critical work takes place. Once it is possible to reopen the stores and offices, businesses will face the challenge of keeping these places safe. New protocols for deep cleaning and sanitization might be needed to be introduced. It would also mean that changes to the layout of the workplace needs to be introduced. This would involve moving workstations apart from one another or introducing changes in the schedule of your employees so that the number of people present at one time in the building can be reduced. You may also establish guidelines for using personal protective equipment like wearing face masks and gloves and checking the temperature of employees and visitors before they enter office premises. Given the widespread use of mobile devices, it may be helpful to leverage technology to help tracing and communicating with employees who have been exposed to this virus and might need to be quarantined. However, whenever you consider steps like these, it is important that you ensure that steps are in place to safeguard the personal data of your employees.

Communicating is key

It is important to keep all your communication channels with your employees alive all the time as they return to work. This will make them feel belonged and one with the process. With ARC’s return to work graphics you can reinforce the idea of importance of personal hygiene, social distancing and hand washing with your employees. They might be coming out in the public after months and therefore these constant reminders with return to work signs will help them ensure their own and each other’s safety in the workplace. In these difficult times, ARC has launched a plethora of Covid-19 graphics and signs that you can put up at different parts of your office. These will not just educate your employees and visitors but will also act as constant reminders. Social distancing signs and floor decals can be placed at a distance of six feet from one another. This will indicate the distance they need to maintain amongst themselves. These signs are therefore an important medium through which you can get your message communicated to your employees. These are also useful in sharing important recommendations of the government from time to time. Almost every day some or the other new updates are being generated and it is extremely important for you to ensure that your employees are aware of these. Breaking the monotony of mails and desktop alerts, these graphics can therefore be an important part of your phased return to work plan as you plan to reopen your office and communicate with your employees effectively like the good old times.

By understanding the risks and important parameters that are to be considered to keep your employees safe, you can plan a successful return to office.