There appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Reopening plans are picking up, COVID-19 cases are slowing down, and it is actually possible to envision a future where you are not working from your living room couch every day. One thing to remember is that we have not defeated the pandemic just yet. Life will still be different when things reopen and that is okay.
Resuming life is not going to be simple. Many new regulations will be in place and safety measures must be taken to keep COVID-19 from making a return in the fall. With some states currently reopening, community leaders must act quickly to ensure a safe return to ‘normalcy’. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your place of business is following the best health practices. When approaching reopening, ask yourself, what should the office look like post-pandemic?
Updated Health Equipment
Each office operates differently and has a different setup. Some workplaces are futuristic and have large open areas with no cubicles and only the newest technology. Other businesses have simple, old-school offices that more closely resemble the workplace from the popular TV sitcom, The Office.
No matter what kind of office environment your company boasts, it likely will look different when you return. People will be wearing masks, gloves may be necessary depending on the industry that your business is in, and there will be an emphasis on practicing social distancing.
As you begin to think about how your office may look and feel different, be sure to think about different sanitation equipment you may want. Think about what you prefer when going to a place of business and replicate it at your office. Some popular health equipment that can improve the environment of your workplace are:
- Touch-free hand sanitizer dispensers
- Motion controlled faucets, soap dispensers, and paper towel dispensers
- Air purification systems
- Stainless steel surfaces in the kitchen area
Investing in this equipment will not be cheap and you may not have the available cash on hand to purchase anything right now. Equipment financing loans are specifically made to help businesses purchase the equipment they need to run their business. These loans are often offered by online business lenders and they are typically shorter-term loans that must be used to purchase equipment and nothing else.
While it may be costly to do now, investing in the health equipment that your office has will do wonders in the long run. Boasting a healthy office environment will ease your employees’ minds when they return to the office and will help keep the spread of germs down in the future.
A New Employee Handbook
Every company should have an employee handbook that details the rules and procedures of working at said company. These employee handbooks typically will detail what an average day in the office entails and how much sick time an employee is granted, among other details.
These employee handbooks should be living, breathing documents that are updated regularly. The society for human resource management (SHRM) recommends that employers update their handbooks every year. The pandemic has accelerated this time frame.
Your employee handbook should look very different from before the rise of the pandemic. Employees will be expecting a more lenient work-life balance that promotes health and safety. Many employers will be adopting guidelines that guarantee more sick leave, a more flexible office schedule, and better health benefits. These improvements will provide peace of mind to your employees as they return to the office.
One area of your business that we recommend reevaluating is your work from home policy. Work from home has become more of the norm now and it may be here to stay. There have been studies done that show that working from home may be more productive than working in the office.
Whatever you decide to do with your employee handbook, just know that it must be updated to show your employees that you truly do care about their health and well-being.
A Blast From the Past
As mentioned already, the office has evolved from what it used to be. For most, gone are the days of cubicles, giant water-coolers, and stiff office chairs. Today, many office spaces have adopted more modern, open concepts, that promote collaboration and conversation.
However, the office may be reverting to be more like the past. While current offices are set-up to encourage teamwork and open communication, they are a nightmare when it comes to disease and germs. Open concepts promote the spread of germs due to a lack of boundaries.
More businesses may be going back to the days of a cubicle based office. While cubicles hamper communication and collaboration, they are better at deterring the spread of germs. It is not likely that old-school cubicles will truly be implemented, but more-so dividers between people to help maintain space. Offices may be ditching open collaboration areas such as couches, over sized chairs, and breakout rooms.
Again, this is not all guaranteed to happen, but rather will be something that business leaders should at least be considering.
We Are Here to Help
Remember that times are still going to be chaotic due to the pandemic when we are all given the go-ahead to return to work. If your business is having trouble, please reach out to others, we are always here to help you. Call us today if you have any problems or just need to talk!