The COVID-19 pandemic has forced just about everyone to change in ways that were previously hard to imagine. No doubt you’ve heard words and phrases like “unprecedented” and “the new normal.” But the truth is you need to make preparations that are unlike anything you’ve had to accomplish when the time comes to bring your employees back to the office.
It’s essential that your employees feel safe when they’re at work. If they’re at ease, they’re more likely to be productive and satisfied. You can easily adapt to a post-COVID work environment, and it doesn’t have to break the bank or frustrate you. Take a look at these useful tips for getting your office ready for the post-COVID reality.
Establish Guidelines and Policies
The feeling of safety at work for your employees begins with clear guidelines and procedures. Your workforce needs to know without a doubt where your company stands on masks and social distancing, what your policy on office visitors entails, and whether you’ll allow gatherings and shared food in the office. You should also have clear expectations for traffic flow, as well as for entering and exiting your facility and what the office capacity should be.
You don’t have to make these decisions on your own. Put together a team or task force consisting of trustworthy employees from every department. Allowing your staff to have a say in making decisions and setting guidelines gives them ownership. Don’t forget to communicate your policies not only when you first establish them, but also when you make changes and tweaks. Your employees will appreciate knowing what to expect.
It’s time to rethink how — and where — your staff members work. Maybe your employees are working flexible schedules and only enter the office part-time, or maybe you’re staggering schedules so only a portion of your team is in the office during certain hours. Maybe all of your staff is coming back at the same time.
Social distancing is paramount to a safe and comfortable office. You should consider spacing desks and cubicles so that employees have at least a six-foot distance between their workspaces. You may even want to think about new cubicles and desks if the ones you have don’t allow for social distancing. Set up clear or opaque dividers to minimize physical contact. Make a difference in the air circulation throughout your office by opening windows when the weather allows too.
One of the biggest decisions you need to make is what to do with common spaces like break rooms and reception areas. Your employees and clients can’t congregate like they used to, and some of them may be skittish about areas where people can gather. The return to work is a great opportunity to repurpose some of those spaces.
If possible, move desks into break rooms and cafeterias for employees who are working flexible schedules or spend time in the field. Small desks or cubicles in these rooms can still allow for social distancing. You can even make space for booths or areas for privacy in case a staff member needs to attend a Zoom meeting.
Making small changes in your office can allow your staff to keep themselves protected. Set up “sanitation stations” where employees can wash their hands or apply hand sanitizer at any time. Keep masks on a table in case an employee leaves theirs at home. Provide stations with sprays, wipes, and paper towels for surface cleaning as well.
Simple additions to your office like these can keep your employees safe and make them feel at ease about a sanitary work environment. It also allows them to share the responsibility of keeping the workplace clean and free of germs.
Times like these provide you with opportunities to be creative. Just because your office has to be physically sterile doesn’t mean the environment has to be boring. Use clever, lighthearted signage to remind your staff of guidelines and procedures. They’ll enjoy the workspace if it doesn’t feel like a chore to keep distance and remain sanitized.
Flexibility is important in a post-pandemic workplace. You may have to make policy changes at a moment’s notice, and you might have to be light on your feet when it comes to office space. Be both prepared and willing to make changes as needed to accommodate the changing nature of a post-COVID work environment.
Making changes to your office space doesn’t have to be expensive or mentally taxing either. You can save money and adapt smoothly when you rent your office furniture rather than buying it. When you’re ready to rent furniture for your office, CORT Furniture Rental is your source for a furniture plan that meets your needs.
Think of CORT as furniture as a service. You can rent cubicles, desks, chairs, and even decorative items when you need them, and you don’t have to worry about delivery or assembly. The best part: When you don’t need a furniture piece anymore, you return it. No more tossing old furniture into the dumpster, storing it, or moving it elsewhere.
You can trust CORT to help you find the solution that fits your needs and adaptations, and you can trust that you’ll have furniture that’s fully sanitized. Save time, money, and effort, and make your life easier when you turn to CORT as your partner in adjusting to an ever-changing work environment.