Here are a number of considerations for protecting employee safety and well being, and business health as restrictions start to lift, and we begin to return to the "new normal":
- Employee preferences - get clarity from your employees around their ability to work at home full time for the next 90 days, 120 days, through year end. Are there security provisions you want or need to have in place? Can you employees meet them? Will they have child care responsibilities or other caregiving responsibilities, or limitations in terms of their ability to work in office vs. at home? Polling/collecting this information now will help you get people in the right places for the near term and longer term.
- Leverage work at home wherever you can - for the near term, work at home should be fully leveraged as much as possible. Eliminating commutes and exposure to others as much as possible continues to be the safest route for employees. And, choosing those that prefer to work this way will maximize the benefits for both the business and employees.
- Staggered days in office/by teams - once you have clarity around your employees' abilities to return to in office, companies can re-organize work flows by team, to most effectively utilize in office space for work outputs.
- Reconfigure open floor plans and former gathering spots- staggered seats and stations, along with rotation of days in office and home working will reduce the risk of one sick person taking down a group of closely locating people. Convert meeting rooms for dedicated workspace. Use cafeterias or other large gathering spots as workspace for a few.
- Use technology in office for meetings, vs. gathering in person - meetings in office should be held to only 2-3 attendees, and avoided as much as possible. Use meeting platforms, UC platforms, the phone.
- Routinely disinfect surfaces - this should be a daily practice for the business. Also, if you are asking people to return to an office environment, furnish them with disinfecting wipes and ask for frequent wipe down of surfaces they touch during the work day.
- Temperature checks, diagnostics, tracing - employers should be prepared to check people on their way into the workplace each day, and conduct tracing of workplace contacts where necessary, and contact local authorities.