Companies are now dealing with the return to work and new normal of the on-site workplace—keeping employees physically distanced, maintaining an unprecedented level of disinfection, and ensuring workers are comfortable, protected, and happy to be back on location. Gathering ‘round the water cooler or the break room is likely to be less frequent, workspaces will be reconfigured, and going out to lunch together could be a thing of the past (at least for now).
Employers must also support the WFH team, who will be missing those in-office interactions from a different place, literally, and still desire to feel “part of the team” when they’re not on site. Keeping them engaged and satisfied presents new challenges that require fresh thinking.
Add to that mix—employers balancing a hybrid on-site/off-site workforce. Maintaining the company culture and connection will be challenged from all directions.
So, what are employers to do as the economy and their workplaces reopen?
Safety First Basics
To start, following the basic CDC recommendations is a common-sense approach that lays the groundwork for a healthful work environment: limiting the number of occupants at any given time and restricting random visitors or anyone who is sick from entering the premises, six-foot distancing rules, masks when/where necessary, new foot traffic patterns and seating arrangements, frequent hand washing, and installing hand sanitizer stations.
Ramping Up Office Protocols
There are products and measures readily available from suppliers that add an important layer of protection and a high comfort level for your employees’ return to work:
- Air filtration – compact, hospital-grade, whole-office air purifiers are a cost-efficient, highly effective way to rid air and surfaces of airborne pathogens. These portable units can be placed throughout all areas.
- Hands-free coffee makers are immediately useful tools that deliver brewed coffee drinks ordered via a mobile app.
- Water filtration and contactless dispensing – install point-of-use water coolers with high-quality filtration built in that reduces harmful particulates (this also reduces waste by reducing the number of bottled water employees bring in). Foot pedals can be installed on water coolers for touchless dispensing.
- In-office catering reduces on-site employees’ need to go out for meals and be exposed to potential infection. Consider sourcing an office coffee service (OCS) vendor with an in-house caterer that provides gourmet single-serve meals in addition to all break room supplies.
- NanoSeptic self-cleaning film– from door handles to copy machines, this innovative product, applied to all high-touch surfaces—continually kills pathogens for up to 90 days.
- Stock the office with all necessary PPE for employees and visitors.
The pandemic has created a new paradigm for how companies of all kinds will operate. Although the workplace is changing, employers have many tools available to meet the new challenges and create a safe, healthy work environment and foster employee well-being, wherever they’re working.