Back in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses across all industries to close their doors to stop the deadly virus’s spread. Many companies had to transition to a work-from-home business model, and employees were left scrambling to set up a home office, find child care, and look out for their family members. It was a time of uncertainty and there seemed to be no end in sight.
With more people getting vaccinated, states are lifting some of the restrictions that impacted our daily living, whether it was wearing a mask in public or social distancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes that fully vaccinated people can return to regular activity, including reentering their offices for work.
It’s crucial for business owners to make office reopening considerations for their employees before opening their doors. Small businesses and large corporations alike need to address any concerns before employees return to work. The goal is to ensure that employees can be energized and satisfied in the workplace while remaining safe from COVID-19.
Let’s discuss how to reopen a business after COVID-19. These tips are mainly dependent on your business’s circumstances, and there are various factors that you must take into account.
Before Reopening Your Workplace
It’s a smart idea to consult with your employees before choosing to reopen your workplace. Many companies release surveys to gather as much information as possible regarding reopening. This way, employees feel their concerns are valued and they have a voice in the process.
In addition, be sure to research your local, state, and federal government guidelines to ensure you’re following the correct procedures for reopening your business.
Reopening haphazardly can cause increased anxiety and worry for your employees. After working remotely for months, adjusting to office life may take some time, and the process will likely evolve. COVID-19 numbers are improving, and although hospitalizations are decreasing, attitudes regarding the virus are ever-changing.
Some people take the virus very seriously, while others take a more laid-back approach. There’s no right or wrong way to navigate these unprecedented times. And no one should feel at fault for being concerned about their health.
Understanding that employees may still be fearful of contracting the virus is paramount — the last thing you want is for employees to feel unsafe in their workplace. It could lead to decreased productivity, absenteeism, or low performance. Instead, engaging your employees and opening the floor for discussion is a more effective way to handle this process.
To plan an effective office reopening after COVID-19, see some of the tips below.
Tips for Reopening Your Office
Here are some things you can do to better prepare for an office reopening after COVID-19.
1. Make necessary upgrades to your office space.
When you lease an office space, it’s essential to make the necessary adjustments when considering the reintroduction of employees to that space. Be sure to follow any specifications in your lease regarding what you can and cannot do within your office space.
Whether it’s reorganizing your floor plan to provide distance between employees or adding hand sanitizer to frequently touched surfaces, these small additions can go a long way. Encouraging employees to practice good hygiene and limit face-to-face interactions only helps to reduce the chances of COVID-19 making its way into the workplace.
2. Develop a plan if employees get infected.
The last thing you want as a business owner is for an employee to fall ill. But with the volatile nature of the virus, it may be challenging to limit the spread completely. Developing an infectious disease preparedness and response plan beforehand will better equip you to make decisions regarding your and your employees’ health.
3. Train new employees and retrain existing employees.
Unemployment reached a new high during the height of the pandemic. However, as businesses reopen, more people are looking to enter the workforce again. New remote employees will have to be reintroduced to the company in an office setting. And existing employees will need a refresher on policies and procedures regarding new standards.
In addition, adopting a spirit of transparency between you and your employees will lead to a successful reopening so you can get back to work safely. Be willing to share your strategy with the rest of your team so feedback can be shared and everyone’s concerns will be addressed.
Ensuring a Safe Workplace
It’s critical as a business professional to take the necessary precautions before reopening your workplace. Following the guidelines outlined by public organizations will ensure your office is ready to resume in-person operations and employees remain as safe as possible.
This guest post was authored by Alyssa Abel
Alyssa Abel is a college and career writer who offers advice on strategies to success. Read more of her work on her blog, Syllabusy.