7 Simple COVID-19 Office Updates To Help Employees Feel Safe
Cost-Efficient Ways to Ensure Employees Feel Safe In Their Post-COVID-19 Office Space
Going back to the office can be a daunting task during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most employees want their employers to assure them that they have taken the necessary precautions to ensure their safety. Additionally, local governments will expect – and in some cases, demand – businesses take steps to protect their office spaces and employees from COVID-19. We wanted to put together a list of easy, practical, and cost-effective ways offices can offer their employees a sense of security as they return to the office. Here are seven COVID-19 office updates you can do to prepare for your employees return.
1. Communicate with Your Employees
The most important thing you can do is to communicate with all employees in your office the steps you are taking to ensure their safety. It is imperative, now more than ever, to be transparent. Provide clear, concise, and well-worded updates on how you have updated the office during COVID-19. Outline how a typical day will look from the moment an employee leaves their home to when they return home at the end of the day. For instance, you may insist all employees wear masks on their commute to work. You may also only want one employee at a time in the elevator or a communal bathroom. Also, you may prefer employees who do not use the shared refrigerator or prefer they don’t leave the office to get lunch, so they would have to use the shared fridge. All this information is vital for each employee to know so they can plan accordingly and feel safe that you are looking out for them.
2. Install Self-Cleaning Surfaces.
Companies like nonSeptic sell affordable skins and mats that continuously self-clean surfaces that you install on high traffic public touch points like door handles and elevator buttons.
3. Offer Disposable/Recyclable Place Mats.
An employee can be great every morning with a large piece of paper that they can place at their workstation. The employee can dispose of that paper, at the end of the day, making cleaning crews easier to keep your office space clean. Offering disposable placemats may work best in offices with communal workstations where employees may not have a dedicated desk but work from a table or a counter.
4. Increase the Availability of Disinfecting Wipes, Hand Sanitizers, and Masks
Employees will feel safer in an office where they have easy access to disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizers, and masks. If you can, you may want to invest in enough to give each employee their wipes, hand sanitizers, and masks. You can brand these items with your company’s logo with promotional marketing agencies like Zagwear and Vistaprint.
5. Install Educational and Fun Signs.
We have become so accustomed to road markings and signs that we forget how vital they are to ensure we maintain order. Emblems, decals, floor stickers work and should be installed in our retail environments and office spaces. The best way to ensure employees are keeping the proper social distance and reduce density while waiting for the elevator (or lift) is to put down floor stickers to signal where one should stand as they wait. If your office has narrow hallways, perhaps some get turned into one-way only corridors (if possible). Additionally, you can have fun with signs. Yes, we all need and appreciate some amusement. Signs can be witty and speak directly to your employees. Signs can also be on brand and in your brand’s voice.
6. Open Windows.
Unfortunately, may high-rise buildings do not allow businesses to open windows, however many offices can. Ventilation is vital in helping curb the spread of COVID-19. Pathogens can quickly spread through HVAC systems. Opening up windows could quickly improve your office’s ventilation. However, we understand we are heading into summer, and many offices will need A/C to ensure their employees are comfortable. In this case, you can invest in an office climate control system or purchase air purifiers – although the more massive the office space, the less a typical air purifier can help.
7. Office Improvements + Office Supplies.
Install motion lights, change door hinges so doors can swing without touching them with your hands, and improve your Bluetooth capabilities so employees can access conference rooms and AV/Videoconference systems from their mobile devices. If many employees are working from home or in shifts, you will want to ensure employees in the office can easily and safely communicate with their colleagues at home.
If you can, invest in more office supplies so employees can have their own and not share. For instance, if you are a creative agency, it would be a great idea to get everyone their own set of whiteboard markers and eraser. Think about all the supplies in your office that people share and see if you can limit the need to share those supplies.
We also have put together a list of longer-term office design trends with our friends at prominent design firms in New York City and Toronto that we believe will live on well back:
If you are wondering how best to clean your office prior to employees coming back:
If you are wondering how to update your office tech and IT solutions as you transition to flexible and remote-work: