Managing a Safe, Post-COVID Workplace
Control in the Hybrid Workplace Part 4
It has been a year of whiplash as we’ve seen different variants and peaks of COVID reverse or delay plans to return to the office. Now, as many organizations are finally getting back to the office and some semblance of normalcy, the question on everyone’s mind is how to keep the employees safe as potential new waves and variants occur.
In part 4 of this series, we are answering the questions,
How do you get employees back to the workplace safely? How do you create a safe working environment now and for the future?
This blog post dives into the easy ways an organization can create a safe working environment and how to manage a return to the workplace for different employee types.
[Start at the beginning with Control in the Hybrid Workplace Part 1.]
Creating A Safe Working Environment Employees Want To Return To
Employees and organizations want to see safe working environments after the pandemic. It’s about getting employees back safely but also about creating and keeping a safe workplace from here on out.
It starts with implementing physically distanced workspaces, capacity restrictions, time for cleaning and sanitation, etc. We highly suggest looking into a workplace management solution to help you manage that.
To create a safe environment, there are some helpful places to start:
Ability to Space Workspaces and Employees as Needed –
Physically distanced spacing means allowing only workspaces that are a certain distance apart (ex. 6-ft) to be reserved so employees can work around each other at a safe distance.
Dynamic spacing means setting up spaces using a workplace management software to remove spaces within a certain distance when one space is reserved. Say 4 workspaces are within 6-ft of each other; when one of those 4 workspaces is reserved, the other 3 become unavailable.
Managing Capacity Limits/Restrictions –
It’s helpful to be able to have capacity restrictions in place. When necessary, you’ll want to know how many employees are in the building and be able to limit that number easily. With the right software, you can set up certain capacity limits/restrictions. When a predetermined number of employees reserve space in the office, spaces are no longer available for the other employees to reserve.
Providing Contact-less Solutions –
One easy way to make your workplace safer and your employees feel confident in getting back is having ways to reserve and secure workspaces through a touchless experience. With a mobile app from your workplace management solution, employees can find and reserve workspaces right from their phones. You can also add QR codes to workspaces and conference rooms that employees can scan with their apps, see the space’s availability, and reserve it instantly.
Adding Time In Between Workspace Reservations –
To make sure workspaces and rooms are cleaned in between reservations, you can set them up to be available to reserve after a certain amount of time since the last reservation. This allows time for a cleaning crew to sanitize the space before the subsequent use.
Managing Your Hybrid Workforce’s Return – Use Cases
With hybrid work trending, you have to consider a few different ways of setting up your office for a safe return. To help, we’re sharing use cases we’ve seen for managing traditional and flex employees.
For employees with assigned seating, manage the workplace by,
- Assigning groups of employees to only certain groups of spaces that comply with distancing guidelines. They will easily see the available spaces with the Floorplan view.
- Stagger in-office days, so only a certain number of employees are in the office each day.
- Validate/verify who actually came into the assigned seats through various presence verification options.
For flex employees and free address workplace seating, manage the workplace by,
- Creating “neighborhoods” or groups of space that are only allocated to certain groups of employees to claim to keep departments and teams within close proximity.
- Create dynamic spaced seats that deactivate nearby spaces once the space is claimed
- Stagger in-office days, so only a certain number of employees are in the office each day. Set up rules and policies that only allow groups of people the ability to claim a space on certain days (i.e., Mon/Wed/Fri)
- Allow employees to see where others are sitting in their allocated groups of spaces to ensure they can maintain physical distance from others.
- Give people the information they need to choose desks before being in the office.
- Validate/verify who actually came into the assigned seats through various presence verification options
For flex employees working from home, manage that by,
- Setting up a “home office” asset that can be “booked” by employees to indicate they are working from home
- Only allow access to the “home office” asset by employees who have permission to WFH
- Encourage employees to check in to their “home office” so that you gather data on all employees, inside and outside of the office.
Gathering Insights From The Return
It’s important to manage both flex and traditional employees, working inside and outside of the office, all in one place to gather essential insights on how your workplace is running. With the data collected, you can understand:
- Who was present in the office and when
- Who was working from their “home office” and when
- How the workplace is being used, utilization of specific workspaces and rooms, as well as capacity percentage and use
- Knowing where someone sat, whom they worked closely with, and whether they were in any meeting rooms with other employees in the case of a positive test.
It’s time to make your next workplace move. Whether it’s getting employees back to the office full-time or implementing a hybrid way of working. That means getting your workplace and your workforce ready too. Consider executing some of the guidelines mentioned above. And learn more about what implementing a workplace management solution looks like.