As most companies are planning their return to the office after over a year of working from home for some, it’s important that the right steps are taken to prepare for the safety of all involved.
What measures need to be addressed before office working returns?
It’s imperative that the following areas are considered and checked off before employees are allowed to return to work.
- Risk assessments
Risk assessments must be carried out prior to anyone returning to the office. Analyse the building and assess where risks could take place. Anyone returning to the workplace should also have to carry out their own risk assessments so that they can prove that they know exactly which rules to follow once they return.
- Phased returns
By phasing the return-to-work process and only having a few employees back at a time, or on alternate days, this will minimise the risk of anyone becoming unwell or anxious and will ease staff back into the office environment steadily, rather than overwhelming them with something that they haven’t had to do for a long while.
- Air ventilation
Ensuring that the windows are open and there is enough space and clean, fresh air coming through the building will also reduce the risk of anyone contracting coronavirus. It also helps staff to concentrate better and is overall better for general health.
Signage and guidelines must be placed around the office in easily visible areas so that staff know exactly what they need to adhere to and can be always reminded of the restrictions. This will also help with keeping up a one-way system and social distancing.
Staff should be encouraged to have regular testing to minimise the chances of the virus spreading if anyone was to contract it. You could also try encouraging this by offering lateral tests at work and giving your employees time away from their desks to do this at least once a week.
- Deep cleaning and sanitation
Make sure all office equipment is thoroughly cleaned, using an air duster on electronic equipment to remove dust in those hard-to-reach areas. Provide hand sanitiser stations and ensure that cleaners are available to regularly keep on top of areas that might encounter people the most, for example, door handles and seating in cafeterias.
- Risk assessments
Why have some businesses adopted a ‘hybrid approach’ moving forward?
Hybrid working conditions are where staff won’t be required to come into the office for the full week and will be able to work at home for part of their employment, for example, on a rota basis.
This helps keep employees happy as they will still maintain flexibility and it keeps the office more manageable for things like social distancing and spacing out computers and desk spaces. It also cuts down on utilities and keeping the office running as often.
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