The summer saw a great number of businesses around the Commonwealth resuming operations with precautions. Thankfully, this “reopening” of the economy has been a success, with COVID infection rates continuing to decrease as on-site work increased.
As the months working in solitude—or among children and pets—at home continue to drag on, employees are becoming more and more interested in returning to a collaborative office environment. Below are steps that business owners can take to transition back to a safe and comfortable in-office work experience.
Employers in Massachusetts are required to ensure that the office environment is configured for social distancing. Chairs, tables, and workstations in cubicles, conference rooms, breakrooms, and common areas should be arranged to allow six feet of distance between occupants. To further promote a socially distanced office atmosphere, consider investing in lightweight barriers to divide workstations. If certain hallways or stairwells are particularly busy, consider posting one-way directional signage to minimize passing contact.
Communicate Clearly and Often
Employees making the transition from remote work to an office setting will need clear guidance on new safety protocols. Firm up and distribute your policy on when staff members need to put on a face covering or gloves, stay home from work, self-quarantine or get tested for COVID-19, and more. Circulate CDC or other government resources about prevention as well as protocols when someone has been exposed to the virus. Clear and honest communication from the top down not only helps keep everyone on the same page but also can engender lasting loyalty in a workforce.
Clean, Clean, and Clean Again
The novel coronavirus and other potentially infectious germs can be spread through contact. Ramp up the frequency and thoroughness of on-site cleaning and sanitizing efforts as you repopulate your workplace. Consider making antibacterial wipes and/or bleach solution and paper towels available in shared areas and conference rooms and asking staff to disinfect surfaces prior to leaving a common area.
Let Fresh Air In
Increased airflow and sunlight have long been known to energize a lethargic workforce. Fresh air can also help to combat germs. If your space has operable windows, consider using them. If you have control over your HVAC settings, try increasing the fresh air output.
Divide and Conquer with Local Satellite Offices
Many employers are finding that their headquarters prior to COVID-19 will no longer suit the number of employees who used to report there. If you no longer have adequate space to house your workforce in accordance with state guidelines, consider relocating a portion of the team to a local satellite facility. Satellite offices allow for the collaboration many workers missed during their work-from-home stints. Whether permanent or temporary, reporting to a branch office offers employees the opportunity to share ideas and enjoy social contact in a professional setting that promotes increased productivity.
Cummings Properties: Offering Options for a Safer Workspace in Suburban Boston
If you are ready to bring your employees back to the workplace, Cummings Properties can help you find a safer workspace that balances organizational wellness with employee satisfaction. Contact us today to explore offices, medical offices, warehouse spaces, and more in 11 conveniently situated North Shore, MetroWest, and suburban Boston locations.