As the Covid-19 vaccine becomes more widely available, many companies are preparing for employees to return to work at the office. The vaccines have been rolled out in phases, with different parts of the country having access to them at different times. Some companies are choosing to wait until all of their employees have access to the vaccine before returning to work, while others are starting a phased return schedule.
Before employees can return to the office, however, there are some things that the company must prepare for them. Here’s a checklist you can use if you intend to recall employees to work in your office.
The Return-to-Office Checklist
1. Ensure that everyone has access to a vaccine if they want it.
Not all employees will want or be able to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. However, it is crucial that everyone who wants it has access to it. Try to find a way for employees to get the vaccine and its booster. You may also want to provide information on where employees can go to get vaccinated.
2. Improve office ventilation.
Office ventilation can be a significant issue during a pandemic. The Covid-19 virus is known to survive for long periods in the air. You may consider upgrading your office ventilation system and installing new fans. That will help keep the air clean and help prevent the spread of the virus. Keep your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning ducts clean with maintenance services from an environmental hygiene contractor.
3. Change the office layout for physical distancing.
When employees return to the office, they must be kept physically distanced from one another. That means that you must change the office layout to accommodate this. You may need to create more open spaces and fewer small, enclosed areas. You may also want to consider using partitions or dividers to help keep people separate. If there is not enough space to place desks far apart, you can use customized desk acrylic shields.
4. Set up a return schedule.
Not all employees will be able to return to work simultaneously. You will need to create a return schedule that allows everyone to return to the office gradually. This schedule should consider the availability of the vaccine and the employee’s health.
5. Require employees to wear a face mask.
Many companies now require their employees to wear face masks when they return to the office. That helps to protect both the employee and those around them. Ensure that you have a supply of masks available for all employees and that everyone is wearing them correctly.
6. Educate employees on physical distancing.
Physical distancing is one of the most important things that employees need to know about when returning to the office. They need to be aware of the risks of getting too close to someone sick, and they must avoid doing so. You may want to consider holding a training session on physical distancing for all employees.
7. Provide information on how to stay safe at work.
When employees return to the office, they must be aware of how to stay safe while working. That includes knowing what to do if they feel ill and how to disinfect their work area properly. Provide employees with information on these topics and ensure that everyone follows the same guidelines.
8. Update sick leave policies.
You must update your sick leave policies so employees can use them for Covid-19-related illnesses. The policy should state that employees can use their sick days for any sickness they have been diagnosed with, not just work-related ones. You may also want to consider increasing the time employees can take off for illness.
9. Encourage employees to stay home if they are sick.
If an employee feels ill, they should be encouraged to stay home. That will help prevent the spread of the virus and keep other employees safe. You may want to consider providing sick leave for employees ill with Covid-19.
10. Implement a partial work-from-home policy.
Work from home policies can be a great way to keep employees safe during a pandemic. If possible, you may want to allow some employees to work from home. That will help prevent the spread of the virus and keep people isolated if they are ill.
11. Restrict access to the office.
You may want to restrict access to the office. That means that only those essential to the company’s operation should be allowed in. You may also want to consider installing a security system that tracks who is coming and going from the office.
12. Restrict travel.
Travel can be a significant risk during a pandemic. Employees should be restricted from traveling unless it is vital. If travel is required, make sure that all employees have been vaccinated and are aware of the risks involved.
Returning Safely to the Office
These are some of the most important things that a company must do when asking employees to return to the office. By following these tips, you can help to ensure that everyone stays healthy during this time. That will also keep the company’s productivity and profitability up.