After the first few months of pandemic-caused chaos, remote work became the norm, eliminating many in-person workplace settings. Although employers anticipated in-person setups would return by January 2021, the first month of the new year has come and (almost) gone with few companies transitioning back to the office. Big-name employers like Google and Microsoft have pushed remote employment into July, while others like Zillow and Twitter have suspended unnecessary in-person workplace contact indefinitely.   

Most employees are in favor of workplace adjustments, with many gunning for long-term work-from-home regulations. However, while the overall consensus regarding remote employment is positive, some are excited to return to office life—especially if employers merge the two systems.

Regardless, returning to a physical workspace increases the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Companies taking the plunge back into in-person office life should engage in employer-sponsored safety precautions to ease employee fears and foster a healthy environment.

Remember that commercial cleaning is non-negotiable.

As employees slowly trickle back into communal workspaces, deep, thorough cleanings will be necessary to keep everyone safe and virus-free. However, while individual cleaning regimes and end-of-day sanitizing are vital in preventing germ spread, employers should utilize commercial cleaning services for more extensive, meticulous cleaning.

Professional cleaning companies have specialized skills to thoroughly scrub and sanitize every inch of your germ-ridden office setup. By employing commercial cleaners who are well-versed in CDC guidelines, you save time, increase safety, and reduce the chance of sub-par scrub-down jobs. If your company is entering in-person workweeks again, be sure to solicit commercial cleaning services like these for timely and efficient cleaning.

Don’t bring everyone back all at once.

Although it may be tempting to fully-staff your office space all at once upon return, allowing some employees to remain remote can curb potential outbreaks. In-person employees should stagger shifts when possible to reduce transmission and avoid cross-contamination. Businesses should also be prepared to prioritize who returns based on individual company needs to ensure a smooth running transition.  

Enforce strict health regulations and social distancing standards.

While it may be tempting to rush in for a handshake or engage in face-to-face office gossip upon return, practicing and maintaining social distancing in the workplace is more crucial than ever. As employees congregate for the first time in months, it’s critical to enforce new-and-improved rules—like regular sanitation efforts, avoiding physical contact, and consistent hand-washing—to ensure your business remains safe and workable long-term.

Engage in clear and transparent communication efforts.

A common concern amongst employees working during a deadly pandemic is miscommunication and misinformation. Employers must encourage and engage in open, honest communication with staff to avoid mishaps and frustration. Outline safety directives promptly, be transparent about the company’s state of affairs and offer support to those struggling with drastic changes to foster a healthy work environment.

Establish reliable testing and symptom tracking procedures.

As you and your employees return to the office after months of isolation, positive cases are bound to arise. While you should engage in substantial, thorough safety procedures, there is still a higher risk of contraction in physical spaces. By establishing comprehensive testing procedures, outlining steps for symptomatic employees, and diligently tracing contact points, you can keep your company up and running while protecting and caring for valuable workers.

Final word

COVID-19 has thrown the entire globe for a loop as citizens and businesses alike struggle to keep up with the ever-changing turn of events. However, you can promote regularity and foster a safe working environment for employees by engaging in thorough cleaning procedures, regulating workplace interactions, and supporting staff through this difficult time.