With vaccine rollouts and the promise of a return to “normalcy” on the horizon, this might mean a return to the office for many. Whether that entails a full return to an in-office schedule or something a little more flexible, it’s imperative your business is prepared. There are many things to consider when transitioning back into the office including; health and safety implications, comprehensive measures, and ensuring business continuity upon return.

Here are a few things to consider:

1. Plan out the space.

It’s safe to assume every workplace has experienced a lot of changes over the past year, whether that be changes in staff, implementation of social distancing measures, or a reduction of office space. Whatever the case may be, it’s unlikely the office layout will be exactly the same upon return. Make sure the space has accessible power sockets and network ports readily available to facilitate the movement of people within the office.

Clean, minimal workplace with spaced out individual desk areas.

2. Check the tech.

There’s nothing worse than coming back to work and having technical issues. Make sure your network ports, phone systems, internet connections, and printers have all been tested before returning to the office.

3. Keep up to date.

If by chance your devices and software have not been kept up to date with routine updates, it’s imperative those are completed before returning to “business as usual.” Not only are these updates time consuming but without them your business is vulnerable to threats.

4. Comprehensive policy for COVID-19 safety.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has provided guidelines for offices that plan on reopening, including plans for risk assessment and contact tracing. There are many things to consider from a health standpoint such as;
– Having up-to-date sick leave and supportive policies.
– Educating and reminding employees of safe practices.
– Being proactive with potential cases.
– Mitigating risk (reducing in-person meetings, postpone large gatherings, etc.,)

An example of a Covid conscious workspace. Two coworkers seated at their desks wearing medical masks and spaced apart.

5. Booking meetings.

While Zoom meetings are quite handy however, now that we are transitioning back to a physical workplace, it is very likely that some meetings will be held in person. Staff, both returning and new, will need to be advised on how to proceed with;
– Booking the meeting room.
– Protocols to follow to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

We’re (hopefully) approaching the tail end of the pandemic and things are slowly getting back to normal. While everyone navigates their way through new waters, it’s important to have an open line of communication between management and staff to encourage and ensure a safe and efficient return to the office.