Reopening the Office in Pandemic

Reopening the Office in Pandemic- How to Safely Reopen

  • Shoaib
  • Automation, CRM, Customer Experience, Digital Transformation, Healthcare, Marketing, Sales, Salesforce, Technology, Uncategorized
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Reopening the office during a pandemic is an important talking point to reflect on during these times. For some, the reopening can’t come soon enough, as they have been longing to leave the confines of home and go mingle.

Some view the whole operation with trepidation. Leaving the relative shelter and the safety of home after months may be cause for concern for millions of workers. You may well be thinking about the risks of putting yourself and your family in danger of being exposed to the coronavirus.

The talks of partially reopening the economy have been going on at different levels of government for some time now, and they are aware of the many discussions in circulation for and against the decision.

A back-to-work order, which means being close to others for 8-9 hours per day, is troubling for many people, let alone in a pandemic where there is a deadly virus running rampant. Many, however, are weighing the odds against the background of having no resources left available. Expenses are piling up and the federal government’s $6oo per week subsidy will be coming to an end on July 31, 2020.

Reopening the Office in PandemicYou are well within your rights to worry about indoor spaces outside of the home. Scientists are acknowledging more and more that COVID 19 may be airborne.

Employers and employees will then have to have a dialogue and see how best to accommodate workers with these varying conditions; whether by reassignment, adjusting the shifts, or assigning remote work. Some states allow the medically vulnerable to refuse to work at this time and remain on medical insurance.

Reopening the Office: Safe Operational Changes

Businesses will not be able to operate the same way as they did pre-COVID. Strict social distancing guidelines must be adhered to going forward. Phase 1 of The White House reopening guidelines requires that employers should close all common areas, enforce strict social distancing measures, and regularly disinfect workstations.

Also, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are asking employers to make changes, which include no handshakes, and request people remain 6ft apart.

To help managers keep their employees and customers safe after reopening, here are some tips from disaster recovery specialists:

  • Ensure sanitizers are easily available and located in strategic places with easy access to all employees and customers
  • Open windows in the office instead of using air conditioning whenever possible. Opening the windows is probably the safest way to control the climate in the office space because central air conditioners and heaters re-circulate the air in the office, which may lead to more particles of the virus being transported to other office spaces, leading to massive infections.
  • Office spaces should also be fumigated frequently to control possible spread of the virus if one of the employees happens to contract the virus and reports back to work.
  • Whenever possible, enforce office capacity policies to ensure fewer people are in the office and are able to observe social distancing. The best approach to realize this is to execute phased reopening, which involves staggering schedules and other approaches implementing a mixture of remote and onsite work.
  • Conference rooms that can be turned into “officles” should face the conversion as this promotes free air circulation and limits the possibility of germs accumulating in one area.
  • If you have communal break spaces in the office or in your business establishment, it’s advisable to close them or stagger access so that few people access them at any given time.
  • If possible, redesign the open office plan to include cubicles where possible. Thorough cleaning is necessary even with cubicles in place
  • Whenever possible, all employees returning to work should be tested before returning to the office. However, care must be taken so as not to promote a false sense of security and lapse in taking precautions. Testing should be used to identify the potential spread
  • Businesses should enforce wearing of masks at all times to prevent possible transmission in the office. Temperature checks and other possible infection monitoring methodologies should be enforced around the office as well.

You may also use VR as a training tool. Companies should make sure their managers are trained to handle COVID 19, before the reopening of the office. Virtual reality is a convenient and safe way to accomplish this, to help prevent other lockdowns.

Reopening the Office: Looking Out For Unsafe Conditions

If you’re being asked to work in unsafe conditions, you should speak up, because it is a matter of life and death. For example, if there is a mask requirement in the state where you reside, and your worksite is not enforcing the requirement, speak to your supervisor or manager about it.

Regarding other safety-related concerns, you should be specific about the concern and express your worry respectfully.

Reopening the Office in PandemicUnions will be able to address the problems for those who are unionized and other workers. And if you’re not unionized, there are other ways to organize, such as banding together with fellow employees to advocate for the working conditions to be safer. You are protected under the National Labor Relations Act.

Some workers have received back to work orders with schools and daycare centers still closed. You may be in a dilemma as to what you can do to address this problem and at the same time obey the order. If you are a part of a company that hires less than 500 persons, you may be eligible for up to twelve weeks of paid leave.

Children are an integral part of workers’ lives, and employers ought to accept it and meet parents halfway. Workers are the most valuable resource, and without them, company offices would be closed and warehouses empty.

Reopening the office is paramount to the well-being of all, and infection prevention spaces must be the order of the day. The need for responsible leadership is never more evident.

All policymakers of companies and their executives must take the lead in responsible governance, to keep workers safe from an infection that has already led to thousands of deaths, and millions infected. We want to keep our families safe, so let’s do the right thing and reopen our economy in the safest way possible.

At Plumlogix, we have observed all the measures laid out by local regulations in handling the COVID 19 pandemic. We urge everyone to observe these regulations and work closely with their employees to ensure a smooth reopening of the office and resumption of work.

Author: Shoaib
Shoaib Chaudhary is an entrepreneur and influencer with over two decades of experience in the technology industry. Shoaib founded Plumlogix with the help of the global 100 CIO, CTO, to empower businesses to eliminate today's barriers to efficiency, savings, growth, rich customer engagement, accountability, and data security. Before plumlogix, he built global businesses serving fortune 1000 companies, like Barns & Noble, Tenet Healthcare, Bloomberg, Sunnco, FannieMae, etc. Shoaib has been influencing global leaders to exceed organizational goals while advancing social responsibility. Shoaib also founded for the advancement of in-demand digital skills globally.