Preparing the Work Area: Helping Employers Return to Business

Any employees are ready to return to work in the office. A JLL survey involving more than 2,000 global employees found that three out of four workers want to return to work, while only one in four hope to stay at home. PwC research suggests that employers expect to be able to bring back employees at half the capacity by 2023.

It is difficult to determine the why and how of everything. Changes in the work environment are rapid. The way you prepare now will affect how employees feel when they return. It can also help you be better prepared to face future challenges.

101 Hazard Assessments

Safety is the most important thing. We all know how contagious COVID-19 can be, how it spreads through air, and the dangers of having close personal contact. This is what we have learned since the outbreak. It’s important to conduct a hazard analysis before you plan to return employees to their workplace. This allows you to identify areas and conditions that could increase your exposure. When inspecting a workplace, there are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Where is the most person-to-person contact? Break rooms, delivery areas and reception spaces can all be hotspots. The spread of disease can be controlled by scheduling the use of break rooms and areas. It is also possible to limit foot traffic and mandate personal protective equipment or mask use.
  • How can workers come into contact with infected surfaces? What are the most touchy areas? These areas should be prioritized for frequent cleaning and disinfection.
  • How can ventilation improve? Opening doors and windows during good weather, and using fans to increase indoor air quality can help reduce contaminants. Air can be cleaned and cleared by decreasing occupancy and increasing airflow.

Assessing Employee Readiness

Your employees must be supportive of your return-to-work plan. Without this, even the best-laid plans can be problematic. Keep in mind that everyone has suffered from the pandemic in their own ways. It is important to approach a return-to-work with empathy, a focus for employees’ well being, and clear communication.

Your workers may be trying to balance work and caregiving responsibilities, making it difficult for them to return to the workplace. Some are ready to rock. Until you meet with your employees, you won’t be able to tell where they are on this spectrum. This is a crucial step to building trust with your employees and engaging them. Edelman recently found that 86% of workers don’t believe their leaders can provide solid leadership for plans to get back on track.

It is important to assess employee readiness before deciding who should return first and who should work remotely. This can help you decide whether to use a staggered shift approach, a phased approach or a hybrid model that incorporates several approaches. Even after you return to work, this communication strategy should be maintained. It can be helpful for everyone to adjust and adjust by explaining new policies, sharing the organization’s future vision, and allowing employees to speak up.

Furniture can be used as a preparation

Another smart way to create the workspace of tomorrow is by renting furniture. Many businesses learned the importance of being agile during the pandemic. The ones who were able to pivot quickly were the most successful in being able to respond quickly and effectively. This agile mindset is crucial to prepare your work area for the future and ensure the long-term success of your business.

PwC surveyed 87% of executives in November and December 2020. They plan to make improvements to their real-estate footprint. Many employers are expanding, consolidating, and opening satellite offices. These changes are key to the success of remote work.

Smart Tech Integration

Data and technology are the key to opening up safely. The risk of COVID spreading can be reduced by adopting touchless technology. Businesses will be more agile if digitization is accelerated. You will be able to react quickly to future disruptions. Of course, more data is better.

Data is key to driving business action at all levels. It empowers decision-makers to react faster to changing circumstances. It provides information for contact tracing and risk assessment. 4SITE’s sensors enable employers to gather valuable, actionable data to determine how spaces are used, by whom, and when.

This helps to create a blueprint for disinfection or sanitization, which simplifies contact tracing, and provides a framework that decision-makers can use in order to move forward. Sensors allow leaders to assess the workspace’s blueprint and make decisions about the best use of it.

Sanitization, COVID Policies and Health Checks

Employers need to have a plan in place for everyone to feel secure and confident. You should already have a hazard assessment done. This will give you an idea of high-traffic areas that require frequent disinfection. Plan for regular cleaning and determine your company’s policy regarding personal protective equipment. Also, how employees should deal with symptoms.

Another consideration is health checks. Many businesses will check visitors and employees for fever and symptoms before they come into the office. Some allow virtual health assessments. No matter what the steps are to keep workers safe when they return, it is vital that your company develops people-first strategies.

People want to go back to work. What are your options for making that happen? The best place to start is to follow federal, state and local guidelines. Adopting sound strategies, such as integrating smart technology, can help facilitate the process.

This post was written by Tara Kintz. Tara is a director at Signature Workspace which is a Tampa cowork space. Signature Workspace, owned and operated by Cantor Fund Management, offers services and amenities such as private offices, flex space, co-working space, virtual offices, meeting/conference rooms, and more. 


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