It’s important to prepare a safety reopening plan that not only protects your company and employees but is flexible enough for future changes. Here are a few steps to think of when you are thinking about reopening your office.
- Plan: You must come up with a set plan that identifies the changes to your business that are necessary to reopen safely. This will require you to review the current Pandemic (COVID-19) Protocols, with the changing research there have been many updates to find the most up to date information about opening your business please go to the CDC’s Guidance Page.
- Act: Then you have to put this plan into action and make the physical and administrative changes to manage the new work setting. Cleaning the office will certainly be needed not only to avoid COVID-19 exposure but mold, insects and rodents, or even issues with your water system being stagnant for so long while you were working from home. Airflow and ventilation systems will need to be inspected, a great way to increase circulation is to open windows and doors if possible, and using fans. You can do a hazard assessment that OSHA came up with to identify any more hazards.
- Train: Next you must train your staff and provide guidance and clear communication to employees so they know what to do. Encourage employees to stay home if they or anyone in their immediate household has symptoms of COVID-19, and notify their supervisor. Stagger shifts to reduce the number of employees in a common area at one time. Discourage handshaking, hugs, and fist bumps. Encourage going outdoors for any meetings or lunches.
- Promote Health: Finally, you must promote and enable good health and hygiene practices. Modifying or adjusting workstations may be needed to maintain social distance where possible and explaining this is important. Consider conducting daily in-person health checks for employees before they enter the office. Remind employees to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, they should use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Put up signs and visual cues to explain proper hygiene etiquette, the CDC has free posters available to download and print, some of which are translated into different languages.
As things continue to change and we learn more information please refer to the CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to learn about more recommendations for creating new sick leave policies, cleaning, and employee communication policies to help protect your workers and clients.