If you manage an office that has been closed due to COVID-19, you know that these times have been difficult and confusing for many. You are most likely looking ahead to the time when you are able to reopen your business and get everyone back into the office. More importantly, this is also a great time to think about potential hurdles that can be cleared to help everyone transition as easily as possible.
Choosing appropriate riming
Before you can reopen the office, you first need to think about the appropriate timing. Different areas have different restrictions on businesses, and may reopen at different times. If you live in an area hard-hit by COVID-19, this could still be a long while out. It is a good idea to check with local governmental resources or news outlets to get an accurate idea of when this option might be available to you. Once your local, state, or federal government gives you the all-clear to reopen the office, consider giving yourself a little bit of extra time to adequately prepare before requiring everyone to return.
Preparing for arrivals
Before inviting everyone to come back to the office, it is a good idea to make sure that the office is ready for them. This can encompass a lot of different factors, such as making sure that any equipment that was put in storage is brought back and in good condition, and restocking office supplies and break rooms. This will most likely also include some paperwork. For example, if any employees are not currently receiving digital paystubs, a paystub should be waiting for them when they return, easily accessible. Consider any policies related to health and wellness that should be implemented, and be sure to provide any necessary supplies, such as protective equipment or sanitizing supplies, to returning employees. It would also be in everyone’s best interest to decontaminate as much of the office as possible before anyone returns to a group space.
Creating positive morale
Many people have struggled to get through the restriction and isolation of quarantine and social distancing regulations, so it is a good idea to be sensitive to this. It’s probable that some or most of your employees may need an adjustment period before everything feels, and operates, as normal. Don’t be surprised if there is a small lag in productivity before everyone gets back to their ordinary levels. You may be able to help this along by creating positive and exciting incentives, celebrations, or other morale boosters during the first few days or weeks after reopening.
The primary struggle for most workers during the reopening of the economy is going to be adjusting to their new normal. If they have been working from home, especially if it has been for many weeks, they have likely established new habits and routines. While the old schedules and patterns are almost certainly not forgotten, they’ve been temporarily displaced. In order to help the office return to normal and reach pre-quarantine efficiency, try to return to business as usual as soon as possible. Familiar sights, sounds, and practices will help speed reforming habits. This will look different for every office, but be sure not to change anything too drastically right away if it can be postponed.
Reopening businesses will be an exciting, yet difficult time for everyone involved. You may have some unexpected struggles at your office while trying to return to previous numbers and business culture. However, by listening to the regulations and advice of appropriate authorities, you can be sure to pick and appropriate time to reopen. To make the reintegration of your employees as simple as possible, prepare ahead of time for any changes that need to occur and for each employee’s arrival. Take care of your workers once they arrive by creating a positive atmosphere and encouraging everyone to return to their ordinary work routine as soon as possible.