An overwhelming majority of California counties have moved into the “minimal” to “moderate” reopening tiers and the entire state is set to reopen next week. With more and more businesses collaborating with property managers and building owners to welcome back employees, it’s imperative to have a roadmap for your reopening.
We’ve outlined our top workplace Dos and Don’ts to help you and your team prepare for the reopening. Many of these were covered in our recent webinar with employment law expert Carol Gefis.
Do Follow Cal/OSHA Workplace Guidelines
It can be difficult to understand which governing agency is responsible for workplace rules and regulations. While the CDC guidelines apply to public places like malls, restaurants and parks, CAL/OSHA is the agency that governs California workplace, and their rules have not changed. They currently require employees to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
Don’t Force a Return
A recent Alliance Resource Group webinar poll of Southern California businesses found that 80% plan to have a remote or work-from-home (WFH) policy in place by summer. As some schools remain closed and some individuals express apprehension about safety and wellness in the office, it’s best to remain flexible. Craft a clear, detailed work-from-home agreement that stipulates expectations and guidelines, such as taking breaks and virtual meeting attendance, and require all remote employees to sign the agreement.
Do Leverage Tech
Now more than ever, it’s important to leverage technology. There are many sensors and apps that help increase sanitization and cleanliness, from air purification to touchless entry. It’s also important to improve Wi-Fi to accommodate hot desks, “hoteling” or outside office space. Video software and virtual collaboration tools are also a must-have as you manage both onsite and remote employees.
Don’t Skimp on Health and Safety Protocols
Improve air filtration and ventilation systems to maximize fresh air. Sanitize common areas and personal workspace multiple times throughout the day. Establish security and wellness checks as employees enter the building. Determine your policy for vaccinations — by law you can require vaccines for onsite teams. Have an ample supply of masks and hand sanitizer. Update sick policies to include COVID-related illness and absences.
Do Build a Post-COVID Company Culture
Your teams are emerging from isolation and silos — into a New Normal. While many are ready to return to the offices, others may still be confused by changing laws and guidelines, feel apprehensive about shared indoor space and are experiencing stress from months of lockdown. Be empathetic and show employees that you care about their wellbeing. Emphasize physical and mental health and have resources available for both those working onsite and remotely. Focus on adaptability, be transparent, and increase opportunities to share appreciation of individuals and teams.