coronavirus workplace protocols in light of COVID-19 pandemic

What’s Your Coronavirus Workforce Re-entry Strategy?

What’s Your Coronavirus Workforce Re-entry Strategy?

Bringing employees back to the office after a pandemic

As an employer, have you developed your company’s strategy for employees returning to the workplace? It’s not as simple as “provide each individual a mask and hand sanitizer.” You are entering a unique set of circumstances. As consultants positioned at the intersection of people and place, we’d like to submit a few thought starters for corporate real estate and human resource professionals as they contemplate the best way to bring employees back to the office.

Your state may have lifted the restrictions on having buildings “open for businesses,” however it’s not as easy as flipping the switch. It will take time to set up sanitizing stations, disassemble/reassemble furniture components to create structural distancing, determine if you’ll take employees’ temperature before entering the building, and develop the communication strategy and specific messaging to educate the workforce on these changes and others.

Will employees be ready to come back to the office?

coronavirus workforce reentry strategySome employees are more than ready to get back to the office. They miss the social aspect of work, despite the technology that they’ve been provided to conduct face-to-face meetings virtually. However, the schools in their city may be shut down for the balance of the school year. Parents can’t return to the office and leave their children home alone.

Many of your employees who have been working at home for several months already may have discovered that they are much more productive in a work-from-home situation. They may prefer to not return to the corporate office.

Still, others may fear leaving their homes, in general. There are powerful voices out there both for and against resuming normalcy. Even after receiving clearance from the government to open things back up, some employees will have serious reluctance to return to their place of employment–especially those over 60 or with some underlying health conditions.

What, if anything, needs to change with your office before employees can return to the workplace?

coronavirus return to work germsThere is much public uncertainty on the duration of the pandemic, and numerous opinions on which workplace changes will be necessary. Companies want to know if adaptations to the physical workplace will be mandated for a specific timeframe or become permanent standards with which all employers will be expected to comply.

Importantly, employers are concerned about the cost of redesigning their office layout to position individuals at least six feet apart, integrating sanitizing stations, adding sensors to doors, lighting, and fixtures to avoid touching them, and other investments.

Developing a coronavirus workforce re-entry strategy

Never before in the history of the office has there been a more critical time to reevaluate the office environment and your workplace strategy. Your company may have just recently transitioned from private offices and cubicles to an open office floor plan. And now, you’re required to make further changes. You need a rock solid strategy to create what the new normal is for your organization, and likely, that plan needs to address a cultural shift that may be on the horizon.

While your office building is not made of elastic, Stegmeier Consulting Group can integrate maximum flexibility into a new workforce re-entry strategy. Our workplace specialists can examine and refine your current work-from-home policies and design a schedule for staggering employees’ time onsite. We’ll work with you to establish new behavioral expectations, and recommend appropriate adaptations to your physical work environment. We can help ensure that your company’s investment in short-term fixes is balanced with the costs of long-term requirements. Fill out the form below to get started.