With the office restrictions starting to lift in India, you might be ready to get back into the office. But starting your office operations again after such a long break may not be as easy as just opening the doors. So we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to not only help you get your office compliant with new Covid-19 safety measures but also make it a clean and inviting space for your team members and clients.
STEP 1: Review The Current Office Condition & Make a Plan
Visit your office and make a list of all the things that need to be done so that the operations can resume and function smoothly and safely with minimal disruption and inconvenience. Once you have reviewed the existing status you will be in a position to decide on a timeline for restarting of operations. Keep in mind that timelines for maintenance and repairs need to take into account worker availability, so keep an extra buffer in case things don’t move as quickly as they did before the lockdown.
STEP 2: Repairs and Maintenance Work
Once you have decided on what needs to be done at your office you must line up the vendors for the work. Start by getting their quotations, negotiate as you deem fit and then fix dates on which the repairs/maintenance work will happen. Proper coordination between multiple agencies is key to ensuring that the process proceeds smoothly and quick turnaround time is achieved. It is good practice to start with the messiest jobs first and then move outwards toward the more delicate and complex ones. For example, if painting and polishing work is required then this should be done first, then other maintenance work such as HVAC, internet, security, etc.
STEP 3: Deep cleaning
After completion of all of the repairs and maintenance work, it’s always a great idea to schedule a professional deep cleaning of the premises to remove accumulated dust and dirt.
If you have good housekeeping staff and they can get to the office, you can avoid the professional deep cleaning. But a lot of fine dust accumulates in all the cracks and it’s a huge job to clean space after a long downtime, so do consider hiring an outside agency who specialized in this type of work.
STEP 4: Electronics and computers
Post the deep cleaning, computers, printers and electronics should be looked into, as this work should only be carried out in a dust-free environment. Check that all the systems are still working before you invite your staff back into the office. Electronics tend to malfunction after a long downtime.
STEP 5: Sanitizing
Once your office is ready to use, appoint a sanitizing agency to carry out a Covid-19 sanitizing procedure. Apart from safety, this activity will also help restore confidence. Sanitizing for Covid-19 requires special chemicals – you need to use a solution containing 1% sodium hypochlorite and now there are lots of agencies available who provide this kind of service.
STEP 6: Communicate with staff
Once you make a plan, share it with your staff. This helps to create a sense of optimism and confidence, and let’s face it – we can all use some of that. It is important that all team members feel involved in the restarting process, partake in the excitement and also have the opportunity to plan their schedules accordingly.
STEP 7: Plan attendance schedules
You can start by breaking up staff into departments/teams. Those individuals that work closely together should be grouped and attend office on the same day. Depending upon your industry, try by starting on alternate days to give everyone the time they need to adjust to a new normal. Take into consideration the transportation options available to each person. During times such as these, it always pays to listen to opinions and adopt a generally more flexible approach.
STEP 8: Set out Covid-19 safety protocols
Lay down clear safety protocols for staff, visitors, as well as for deliveries. Place hand-sanitizing stations at convenient locations across the office and offer free masks to visitors.
Keep in mind that if you keep the hand sanitizers on desks, the chemicals can corrode the desk surfaces, so it’s best to keep them propped up on these stands.
Appoint a member of the housekeeping team to take and record the temperature of all staff and visitors at the entrance, and don’t forget to put up stickers around the office as reminders to people to maintain distance, observe hygiene and follow the new rules.
STEP 9: Lead by example
Be the first to start going into the office so as to lead by example and also to allay the fears of staff. This will give your team the reassurance they need to return to work without worry and to be productive.
STEP 10: Create a short video
And lastly, why not make a short video on the new safety protocols that you can share with your team members and clients to help build their confidence. In times of uncertainly, everyone needs a little extra reassurance. Making a video together not only gives confidence to prospective clients but also helps build team unity and morale. Though it may seem daunting at first, there’s no time to start like the present. By following the above steps as a guideline, you should easily be able to start working from your office again, safely and efficiently.