Whether you’re a travel company or you dabble in accounting, engineering or basically any office work, we know just how much we were forced to shift to a remote work setup because of the health crisis. Now while the situation hasn’t really gotten better especially on a global scale, some firms now need to go back to their offices for various valid reasons. And if you are one of those, then read on to find how you can safely restart your operations in the office today.
Understand the Risks
Before jumping ahead and ordering all your workers to report back to your office, you must understand the inherent risk and possible virus outbreak within your premises. Weigh the pros and cons of going back to the office versus simply conducting your operations in a remote setup. Skeleton workforce is another option, where only a minimal amount of people need to go to the actual office to do all the necessary work inside. This is not really the ideal setup but if on the ground operations is really needed, then that’s your best bet.
Check your Budget
While you might have already understood the safety risks of going back to the office, one thing might shock you if you go back to this setup: your finances. Keep in mind that going to the office means paying overhead costs like internet and electricity in the facility, plus building maintenance costs, too. At this point, not everyone can afford this or is willing to shell out for these expenses.
Now if you learned that you don’t have that much budget to continue, you actually have two options. First, you can forego restarting your business in the office or you can opt to take out a COVID financial assistance package from the government.
Conduct a Feasibility Study
Alright you’re done with checking your budget and knowing the risk going back to the office entails. But then you have to do another feasibility study? Well technically, the first two things you did are already part of such study. However at this point, the next consideration would be your employees. Let’s say you’re prepared to go back to the office but are they? Are they healthy enough? Is your workforce completely COVID-free? Know how they’re doing and find out if anyone’s currently down with COVID or flu-like symptoms. If most of them aren’t okay, then it’s probably not a good idea to start working in the office soon.
Comply with Health and Safety Standards
Believe it or not, keeping your office and workers safe from the coronavirus entails more than just enforcing social distancing and giving away free surgical masks. You need to take proactive action steps under a detailed COVID-19 workplace guidance.
For instance, you might not realize that you need to upgrade your current waste management system because the pandemic requires all of us to be more diligent in waste disposal so as not to foster the further spread of the deadly virus in the office.
Realign Goals with Your Workers
Along with physical preparations, you also have to make sure that your workers are given enough time to mentally adjust to working in an office again. They undoubtedly adopted certain skills and working strategies while working from home, which may or may not be suitable for the actual workplace.
To remedy this, you can plan simple team building activities to get everyone on the same page and ready to work alongside their coworkers again. Note, though, that you have to be creative when thinking of activities that your team can do while still wearing their PPEs and practicing social distancing.
Monitor Performance and Reevaluate Activities
It’s definitely not easy to learn how to be productive at home only to have to return to the office in a snap. Now more than ever, you have to carefully monitor your team’s performance and their activities to find out if there are specific employees who need special assistance as you restart your business in the office.
If you find several workers who are underperforming despite their good record prior to the pandemic, then you’ve got your work cut out for you in helping them regain their previous levels of productivity.
In the end, both you and your workers will grapple in the dark a bit while trying to regain your footing in an office setup. Aside from accepting all the help you can get, you have to be extremely patient and let things run its natural course. Remember that we’re still living in extraordinary times, so you have to be ready to give yourself and your colleagues enough time to breathe and adjust to whatever it is that we consider ‘the new normal.’