With thousands of companies reopening and inviting employees back to the office after COVID-19, many employers are suddenly wondering how to keep their teams healthy and safe. To ensure the health of their teams, businesses are not only rearranging teams, but furniture, policies and hygiene protocols.
At GOS, we know a thing or two about creating comfortable, hygienic and productive workplaces, even during these strange, apocalyptic days. We’re experts in cleaning supplies, office furniture, and office products–and we’ve learned a lot during this pandemic!
Here are our top three office reopening tips to support social distancing and prevent virus spread.
1. Deep clean your office–and office policies.
Once employees return to work, so do the germs. Be sure to keep every nook and cranny in your office as clean as possible with professional-grade janitorial supplies for bathrooms, breakrooms, desks and meeting rooms.
Start by doing a deep clean of the entire office. Even if your office has been empty for weeks, a thorough cleaning before reopening will help put your employees’ minds at ease. Next, be sure to regularly clean high-traffic areas and individual workspaces throughout the day, as well as at the end of each workday.
Coronavirus has forever changed the way every industry conducts in-office business. As a result, you’ll also want to review your current employee policies and procedures to prevent virus spread. For example, many companies are now screening employees for virus symptoms and using touchless thermometers to detect fevers, before entering the office. Others are avoiding large meetings and continue to hold online video calls.
Your work and scheduling procedures will need revision to avoid creating dense office crowds and provide more employee flexibility. For example, you may want to allow employees to continue teleworking, or rotate employee schedules–such as alternating days, mornings or afternoons–to avoid overcrowded offices. Just remember to disinfect every workstation before a new shift begins!
Having trouble finding the right janitorial products, health equipment or safety gear for your office? At GOS we offer more than Clorox bleach and disinfectant wipes; we also carry professional cleaning chemicals and detergents, plus personal protection equipment, like gloves, face shields, and safety goggles.
2. Reconfigure furniture and redefine workspaces.
To maintain proper social distancing protocols, you’ll likely need to rearrange your office furniture and desks to maintain six feet of space between employee seats, walkways or common spaces.
For starters, try rotating desks so employees aren’t facing each other, or use dividers for another layer of protection between desks or cubicles, as shown in the image below. [insert seating graphic from guide] For more detailed guidelines, one of our furniture partners, Global Furniture Group, created two helpful guides on workplace distancing and furniture solutions that can be found here and here.
Some companies are fortunate enough to have the extra space to spread out and rearrange seating, or to create new workspaces from old social areas (such as cafes, meeting rooms or lounges). However, for many companies, spreading out isn’t an option.
In cases like these, it might be time to upgrade your office furniture and invest in pieces that support this new distancing normal. Open offices may become a thing of the past, as companies return to an office staple: the cubicle. Cubicles allow for private and enclosed workstations. Plus, many can be outfitted with protective, plexiglass dividers (the “sneeze guard”) to avoid the spread of germs.
Given the uncertainty of the times, companies are also shifting to furniture options with greater flexibility and durability. Furniture that can be rearranged easily and materials that can withstand heavy sanitation are popular options. And to save space, some companies are even removing chairs and opting for flexible, standing desks.
Need new office furniture after COVID-19, but not sure where to begin? Contact us! At GOS, we not only specialize in office furniture and interior design, but we do the heavy lifting so you can focus on getting back to work. We offer free design consultations and services, including the necessary planning, measuring, delivery and installation to keep your workplace as germ-free as possible.
We partner with popular global furniture manufacturers, such as HON, to bring you the most innovative furniture for any workplace need. Not sure if you have the space or budget for that new lounge sofa or cubicle arrangement? We’ll visit your office, help you budget and even mock-up your ideas.
3. Encourage regular employee hygiene.
Returning to an enclosed office with colleagues can make some employees uneasy, as everyone has different preferences and health concerns. It’s best to take an extra-cautious approach to hygiene during this pandemic. Your employees probably grew accustomed to frequent handwashing while at home–and now is the time to build on that!
First things first, make sure everyone participates so your entire office feels more comfortable and united. It’s especially crucial to ask top-level managers and your HR team to lead by example, such as mask-wearing, as employees will be more likely to follow suit.
Next, create hand sanitizing stations and provide disinfectant wipes in common office areas so employees can clean door handles, elevator buttons, desks, counters and appliances after use. And in case your employees have questions about office hygiene protocols, place health reminders about handwashing, coughing/sneezing etiquette (into a tissue or into your elbow), room capacities, and COVID-19 symptoms in visible areas.
Having trouble locating office cleaning supplies online? We’ve got you covered with thousands of high-quality office cleaning products. Get in touch with us to learn more about our products, free next-day delivery, and price-match guarantee.
Returning to work after the coronavirus pandemic can be exciting, scary, and challenging for employees and businesses alike. Hopefully with these tips you’ll be one step closer to a healthy workspace where everyone feels comfortable, safe and productive.