Ready? Set. Reopen!
Whether your facility has been closed for over a year or you have been at a significantly reduced capacity, it’s time to start to prepare for a full-scale return to the office for many employees across North America.
Consider the following 10 best practices before and after allowing occupants back inside your facility:
- Conduct a top-to-bottom cleaning
- Make it easy to sanitize hands and disinfect surfaces
- Remove foul odours and create fresh scents
- Create open lines of communication
- Reassess standards and procedures to ensure you have an efficient workflow
- Don’t hide cleaning and those who execute it in the background
- Implement crowd control measures
- Educate employees on how to safely return to work
- Evolve beyond crisis management and drive transformation
- Adopt a “rebuild” instead of a “resume” attitude
1. Conduct a top-to-bottom cleaning
Many facilities have been closed or at limited capacity for quite some time now. Take advantage of the opportunity and give the building a good top-to-bottom clean and note any areas that may require maintenance before employees return back to the office. Follow the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting various surfaces.
2. Make it easy to sanitize hands and disinfect surfaces
It has become second nature for most of us to sanitize our hands when entering a new space or engaging with areas that may have been touched by other people. Make it easy for employees to remain vigilant about cleaning their hands and disinfecting surfaces to maintain that high level of clean.
3. Remove foul odours and create fresh scents
Facilities should not only look clean, but also smell clean. According to a survey by Harris Poll, awful smells lead 56% of Americans to assume a facility is not clean. It is critical for facilities to establish an odour elimination program that consistency removes smell and replaces with fresh fragrances.
4. Create open lines of communication
With employees returning to the office after a year, they may feel uneasy at the now unfamiliar setting of the workspace. The facility could have changed drastically since the last time they were there, or they could just feel uneasy about what health and safety measures are in place to protect them.
Offering open lines of communication will put employees at ease and clarify any questions that they may have about about this “new normal” looks like. Using real-time messaging through email, SMS, WhatsApp, and other popular channels, you can engaged with employees on the channel of their choice using a unified Inbox with the Loop Experience Platform.
5. Reassess standards and procedures to ensure you have an efficient workflow
As employees begin to return to the building, you will start to receive more work orders maintenance requests. How are you managing these? Create a workflow that makes sense for your maintenance and operations team to efficiently handle employee concerns.
You can look to add a QR code survey in the bathrooms for employees to leave feedback about the cleanliness or if it needs to be restocked. Using the Loop Experience Platform your teams can receive this information in real-time and respond to employees concerns through our closed loop feedback mechanics. Request a custom demo to learn more about how Loop can help create more efficient workflows in your facility.
6. Don’t hide cleaning and those who execute it
Prior to the pandemic, many cleaning crews did their best to stay hidden from the workforce, cleaning in the early morning or long after everyone has left for the day. With the enhanced cleaning measures required at facilities, it is not only important to clean while staff are occupying the building, but will also give comfort to employees that sanitary measures are being enforced.
7. Implement crowd control measures
From busy elevators, to packed lunchrooms and full conference rooms, there are a lot of places within your facility that will need to be managed for crowd control. Each location unique, it’s important to ensure that the measures you put in place are both productive and safe for employees. Placing markers to indicate safe space between people at line-ups for coffee or lunch, enforcing capacity limits for common spaces including stairwells, meeting rooms and break spaces will help control the new influx of people in the building.
8. Educate employees on how to safely return to work
With rules from the government constantly changing as we learn more about the virus and its variants, it’s important to ensure that employees understand their responsibilities to safely return to work. Continuing to educate employees about new facilities changes, such has temperature check-points, limits to meeting rooms, staggering break times and more will help employees to feel comfortable about their safe return to work.
9. Evolve beyond crisis management and drive transformation
While the COVID-19 pandemic has dragged on longer than any of us thought that it would, managing the crisis has gone through multiple stages. The return to normal has been slow and will allow for long-term change to happen within workplaces. This gives your facilities and operations teams the opportunity to embrace current circumstances, while building operational resiliency and agility. Focusing on workflows and a tech stack that can support automation and flexibility will ensure the fastest, most efficient responses to facility-related challenges and opportunities.
10. Adopt a “rebuild” instead of a “resume” attitude
It’s safe to say that things will not resume to the old normal we used to know. Whether it’s dealing with employees that are only returning to the office for a portion of their work days, or limiting crowds inside the facility, things will not just switch back to what they were before March 2020.
Take this opportunity to rebuild how you manage your facilities. Whether this means redesigning office spaces to maintenance social distancing, shifting to a digital first approach to building management or adding new safety measures to ensure that no one comes into work sick, there is an opportunity here to rebuild a more flexible plan to handle what comes next.