It’s been nearly 6 months since life in America came to a near halt. Schools closed, travel stopped and social engagements were canceled. Entire organizations started working at home — many for the first time. It felt like it happened overnight.
Now, as we begin to see signs of progress, we are all embarking upon new territory of reopening and settling into a “new normal.”
Through serious thought, planning, and preparation (from our own return-to-office protocols) we’ve compiled some best practices to help you navigate the challenges that might lie ahead. It’s important to note that returning to the office isn’t a race, and the safety of your employees is paramount.
In addition to the CDC guidelines for handwashing and keeping yourself healthy, here are some best practices for your office and team members to follow to help keep the entire organization safe and healthy.
General Procedures & Protocols
- When possible, provide employees the option to work remote and/or create a rotation for remote vs. in-office employees to limit the number of team members in the office at one time.
- Employees should implement and adhere to a daily self-screening protocol and stay home if sick. Employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor immediately and stay home to work remotely.
- Sick employees should follow the CDC recommended steps and not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met. A doctor’s release may be requested.
- Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC recommended precautions.
- Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation after travel.
- Face masks will be required when in environments where social distancing is not feasible and when outside personal workspace.
- Have single-use disposable tissues and hand sanitizer throughout the office for easy access when washing hands isn’t possible.
- Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
- Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 3-6 feet) from others when possible.
- To keep in line with social distancing best practices:
- No meetings greater than 10 persons should occur, even when the meeting area is large enough to accommodate appropriate social distancing. Ensure there is adequate spacing between seats if seated.
- Meeting with others outside the organization should continue to be conducted virtually.
- Reduce the standard room capacity for meeting rooms.
- Disinfect meeting rooms after each use.
- Since masks cannot be worn when eating and drinking, employees should physically distance when they are on breaks in the same room at the same time.
- Avoid all non-essential gatherings.
- Team members should utilize stairs, if possible, and avoid riding the elevator with other people.
- Team members should limit # of people in the bathroom to 1-2 people at a time.
Disinfection Measures Protocol:
- High touch surfaces (such as Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, faucets, sinks, copiers, coffee makers, and refrigerator handles, etc.) will be disinfected regularly by a professional cleaning service.
- All team members will be responsible for disinfecting their own desks, phones, keyboards, and other personal work items at the end of each day.
- Meeting room conference tables and other hard surfaces (i.e. chair arms) should be cleaned at the end of every meeting.
- A Deep-Cleaning and Disinfection protocol is triggered when an active employee is identified as positive for COVID-19. Deep cleaning should be performed by a commercial cleaning company as soon after the confirmation of a positive test as practical.
Our team has been taking a hybrid approach to returning to the office and we feel grateful to be able to work both virtually and in-office. Despite all of the changes in the world around us, we remain optimistic about what’s ahead!
DISCLAIMER: The information above is not meant to be conclusive. Please be advised that some or all of the information contained in this document may not be applicable to some businesses or places of work, and may not include all information necessary for certain businesses and places of work. This document does not attempt to address any health, safety, and other workplace requirements in place prior to the age of COVID-19. As COVID circumstances continue to evolve, so will the public health and safety recommendations and requirements, and as a result, this document may not include all current governmental or health expert requirements and recommendations. We strongly advise that before implementing any of the practices and procedures contained herein, you carefully evaluate all, and consult with your own legal counsel and other advisors regarding the legality, applicability, and potential efficacy of this information in your place of business, and to determine what, if any, other recommendations or requirements may apply to your business. Kester Search Group bears no responsibility for any circumstances arising out of, or related to, the adoption, or decision not to adopt, any of the practices or procedures contained in this guide.
Greenville Chamber Return to Office Protocols