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6 Steps on How to Re-Open Your Office

Written by Sandra Reder

President and Founder, Vertical Bridge HR

After almost 2 years of working remotely companies are starting to think about how to re-open their offices to employees and customers. Businesses and some of their employees are contacting us for guidance on how to safely bring people back into the office.

Here are 6 steps to consider on how to re-open your office:

 1. Determine whether or not you will implement a mandatory vaccine policy in your workplace. If you choose to do this, please ensure that you seek outside assistance when writing this policy, as it is important to get it right prior to announcing this to your employees. If you don’t choose to implement a mandatory vaccine policy, you will need to consider how you will keep your unvaccinated and vaccinated employees safe when they’re in the workplace.

Photo by Proxyclick Visitor Management System from Pexels

2. Determine if you will bring everyone back full-time or if you will move towards a hybrid workplace when you re-open your office. The hybrid models we’re seeing so far are as follows:

  • 50% of your employees in the office 2 days per week, while the other 50% work from home, and then reverse with the 1st group working from home and the 2nd group coming into the office. On the 5th day of the week everyone works from home (in some cases employers are moving to a 4-day work week).
  • The employer determines which positions can continue to work from home full-time and which positions will return to the office full-time.
  • The employer sets a designated number of hours that employees must be in the office each week and posts a schedule of available dates/times for in office work (think Doodle poll). The employees sign up for the available dates/times that they would like to work at the office, ensuring that they meet the required number of “in office” hours each week. This is a great option if you want to offer flexibility to your employees.

3. Once you have determined what model you will adopt in your business you will want to clearly communicate this to all of your employees. Encourage questions and feedback.

4. Develop and communicate all COVID-19 health and safety policies and protocols that you will adhere to in the office. This includes things like barriers between workstations, mask mandates, hand washing stations, social distancing, policies around illness and sick time. Once you have shared your COVID-19 Return-to-Work Plan, have all returning staff sign off on an acknowledgement form confirming their agreement to abide by these protocols and policies.

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

5. For those employees who were provided company property to work from home i.e. computers, phones etc. let them know whether or not they will be expected to bring those devices with them when they return to the office.

6. Ensure that you maintain an “open door policy” so that employees feel comfortable coming to you with any concerns or feedback they have around returning to the office. 

These are still very stressful and confusing times for many people so the more structure and information you can provide to your employees about returning to the workplace, the easier the return to work will be for everyone.

If you require any assistance with a Mandatory Vaccination Policy or a Return-to-Work plan please don’t hesitate to contact us, we’d be pleased to discuss this with you. 

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