4 Ideas to Make Returning to the Office Safe

As society continues to adapt to the “new normal,” many organizations have been working toward employees returning to the office.

Naturally, given the damage already done and the dangers of COVID-19, fears might be running rampant amongst workers.

This scenario isn’t ideal. Employees who feel that their health is in jeopardy due to the virus won’t focus 100% on their work. Employers must first establish a safety and sanitation policy framework to keep the office safe and staff at ease.

Listed below are four ideas that will make returning to the office as safe as possible. 

Tip #1: When it Comes to Clean Hands, Seeing is Believing

All experts speak to the effectiveness of cleaning hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, regularly.

Furthermore, hand sanitizer with 60%-alcohol has proven a valuable tool in virus prevention.

It’s worth noting that soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizer. However, going to the office every half hour to wash one’s hands isn’t a viable solution.

Conversely, readily available hand sanitizer, placed throughout an array of stations in the office, will act as a perfect visual prompt to keep all employees aware of their hygiene. Even if they’re caught up in their work, the multitude of clearly marked sanitation stations will provide an ideal reminder for staff to disinfect. 

Tip #2: Masks Can Be a Branding Opportunity

Necessity might breed invention, but it also produces branding opportunities.

Namely, now is the time to make employees feel valued with free branded merchandise in the form of masks.

As the pandemic has persisted, most medical experts have been massive proponents of masks. In fact, there’s a story about two hairstylists who contracted COVID-19 but didn’t infect any of their 139 clients. This lack of viral spreading was likely due to the stylists in question wearing masks.

Meaning, in supplying masks, employers will make the work environment safer while also removing the burden of employees paying for their own protective equipment.

Tip #3: Take Time to Gather a Group Consensus

What if the vast majority of employees don’t want to return to the office because they’re terrified?

Moreover, imagine not knowing that the staff feels this way before forcing them into the office.

Undoubtedly, the outcome of such an error in judgment would be a bunch of employees resenting their employer for putting them at risk. Dissatisfied or slighted employees are all but guaranteed to under-perform and disengage from their work. Morale will suffer, and the organization in question will experience severe reputational damage.

Alternatively, taking the time to communicate and receive input from all involved will clarify whether it’s wise to reopen the office in the first place. This approach might allow for successful alternatives. For instance, employees might wish to alternate between who’s working at the office and from home, week-to-week.

The above example would prevent too many in-person interactions and limit the chances of exposure to COVID-19. Such plans only happen if employee input is encouraged and taken to heart. 

Tip #4: Stay Informed About CDC’s Best Practices

Part of the problem with adapting to COVID-19 at the office is the unprecedented nature of the virus. It’s tricky to know whether the practices and procedures in place are at all effective, or if they’re a waste of time and resources.

The recommended best COVID-19 safety practices are continually in flux. It’s crucial to keep up with the shifts and changes suggested by the CDC.

Of course, these don’t guarantee foolproof safety protocols. Still, keeping a finger on the pulse of CDC’s guidelines to combat COVID-19 at the office will provide tremendous peace of mind.

Hopefully, these actionable tips will help your company hit the ground running after reopening its offices. 

About Kuhn Global Talent

Kuhn Global Talent is a global search firm, and has effectively completed hundreds of searches since 2011 and provided clients with extraordinary recruiting investment value. Jim’s global business knowledge and cross-cultural agility are particularly valued by U.S.-based companies building leadership teams in the US and other countries, and by non-U.S. companies desiring a cross-culturally sensitive search approach to confidential searches in their home countries and in their U.S.-based affiliates.

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