Life before the coronavirus pandemic feels like a distant memory. Employees who are advised to return to the office after months of remote work comply with trepidation. After all, before they even set foot in their destination, they’re already met with countless opportunities to contract the virus. Confronted with this daily risk, employees are bound to experience complications personally and professionally. It’s your job as an employer to make them feel as safe as possible in their workplace without risking your operations’ quality.
Before your company officially reopens, it’s worth preparing your office and policies for the changes that need to happen. Office life has to make space for the coronavirus era, where distance means safety and sanitation is gold.
Redesign the Space
It seems there was wisdom in the traditional office setup of cubicles and partitions. No matter how efficient and aesthetically pleasing coworking spaces are, they just won’t cut it anymore. With the help of a general contractor, you can redesign your office space to meet the health protocols prescribed by WHO. Setting up individual desks and separating them with partitions will help your employees feel safe as they go about their daily tasks.
You’ll also have to install sanitation equipment to keep them from bringing in potentially harmful particles. Provide access to automatic hand sanitizer sprays at the entrance, as well as wipes specifically made for phones. Other companies are taking the extra mile by mandating indoor shoes to prevent contamination inside the office. Whatever design and protocols you go with, make sure that it suits your space, needs, and culture to maximize efficiency.
With social distancing in effect, it’s unlikely that you can recall all your employees to the office. The ones who need to return will be those with key positions or need specific equipment to perform their jobs. While this is the best option for everyone, it does risk alienating those still working remotely.
One way to balance this is to create a rotating schedule of on-site work for those who can manage it. Depending on the number of employees and the office capacity, you can have half work three days a week in the office and alternate them with the other half for the other three days.
Some companies organize off-site meetups with their entire team to make it possible to maintain social distancing. Efforts like this are integral in maintaining employee satisfaction and happiness because while remote work is convenient somehow, it does dampen the spirit of collaboration within your company.
Your office’s humidity level can either curb the virus or aid its spread. Researchers reveal that diseases like COVID-19 spread faster in dry air. When the relative humidity in your workspace drops below 40 percent, contagious droplets suspend in the air longer. In this case, surface cleaning won’t be so helpful in keeping everybody safe.
The ideal relative humidity to control the spread of infectious particles is between 40 to 60 percent. Simply adding humidifiers won’t suffice as a solution, however. This is why contacting a general contractor is essential in redesigning your workspace. Without a professional to modify walls and other surfaces, mold and various forms of damages can occur, which are likely to increase your employees’ risk.
Improving the ventilation in your workspace depends on the systems available and the building structure itself. Whatever you go for, what’s important is that there is enough fresh air coming in to dilute pollutants. You’ll also need high-quality filters, as well as the cooperation of your entire team in keeping their masks on at all times.
Reviving Office Life
The new normal is pushing all industries to rethink office life. While these changes may make things difficult, it’s still possible to cultivate a healthy work life for you and your employees amidst the pandemic.