As more states and businesses start planning for returning people to in-person workplaces, there are a lot of things business owners will need to do to prepare. Here are some things to think about when you start getting ready to reopen.
Who’s Going Back – and When?
The recommendations coming from the White House have guidelines for how to know when it’s okay to go back, as well as a phased roll-out plan for different kinds of businesses based on meeting certain criteria. Individual states are releasing similar plans.
So far, these plans typically require:
- A downward trend in reported symptoms and confirmed cases of both Covid-19 and other flu-like illnesses in a 14-day period
- An ability for hospitals to be able to treat all patients without crisis care
- A robust testing plan in place for front-line healthcare workers (including antibody testing)
(Note: many places are still behind in having tests available for all symptomatic people, and there are reports of false negative results, both of which would presumably impact the validity of meeting any of the above criteria).
Once a state qualifies, there differing plans for who gets to return and when. Find out what your state is planning to see when you might be allowed to reopen.
What Will We Need to Do to be Ready to Reopen?
When it comes to actually getting back in the office, there are extensive procedures that need to be followed in order to keep your company and your customers safe and healthy.
- Physical distancing enforcement and constant utilization of necessary protective equipment
- Regular, required temperature checks to screen for potentially ill employees or visitors
- Strict, verifiable sanitation and cleaning procedures, including disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
- Testing, isolation, and contact tracing for anyone exposed to the virus
- Prepare the building (cleaning plans, pre-return inspections, etc.)
- Prepare the workforce (decide who returns when, communication plans)
- Control access (protocols for health checks, shipping/receiving, visitor policies, etc.)
- Create a social distancing plan (office traffic patterns, decreasing density)
- Reduce touch points & increase cleaning (cleaning common areas, food plan)
How Can I Make Sure I’m Ready?
Like everything else right now, this can all seem daunting. But having the right processes and tools in place will help you be able to control what you need to do, which includes finding ways to:
- Collect standardized data about employees and on-site visitors (in other words, you need people to provide information to you)
- Remind, reinforce, and require guidelines and processes for distancing, equipment wearing and maintenance, and cleaning (you need to provide information to your team)
- Update all of the above when things change
- Distribute all of the above to your entire workforce
That all adds up to a system for both collecting and pushing out data, one that you can customize to work for your company, industry, and location.
That could look like a system of forms, including:
- Health screenings
- CDC guidelines
- Risk waivers
- Cleaning checklists
- Procedure checklists
- Sanitation best practices
Automating these processes will not only help keep people safe, it will also ensure that their time is being spent doing the work you need them to do.