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8 Tips for Transitioning Back to the Office Post-Quarantine

After more than two months of working from home, returning to the office is a highly anticipated event. Making that transition will take considerable care and cooperation with local and state ordinances, so it must be navigated with caution. The health and safety of employees and their families is the number one priority for Tangent and we know it is for your company too. With that in mind, we’ve curated eight tips for transitioning back to the office as safely and efficiently as possible. Remember to consult with any governing ordinances in your area before making any changes.

1 – Create a rotating schedule of office shifts: To ensure a safe distance can be maintained by each employee, keep the number of employees present in the office low by setting up a schedule of shifts. For example, have some employees on a Tuesday/Thursday rotation and others on a Monday/Wednesday rotation. Another option is to have morning and afternoon shifts so that employees only work in the office for half the day and continue their work remotely.

2 – Divide the workplace into stations: Per CDC regulations, employees should have a minimum of six feet of distance between themselves. The easiest way to do this is to divide the space up into sections. This way you can efficiently assign employees to designated areas before they arrive for their shift. 

3 – Wear masks in common areas: One rule that we implemented at our office is that if you have to walk through another employee’s workstation, that you need to wear your mask. The same principle applies for all common areas like lobbies, hallways and conference rooms.

4 – Sanitize workstations before and after use: One of the most important factors for returning to the office post-quarantine is to properly sanitize workstations at the beginning and end of each employee’s shift. Some high-use items like doorknobs and light switches should be cleaned intermittently throughout the day.

5 – Implement standard screening & operating procedures for employees entering the office: This is especially important if you have employees that regularly need to travel and have not been in quarantine. The screening can be as simple as answering a few questions regarding symptoms, or even a temperature check. Whichever screening method you use, be sure to use the same screening method each time and establish a set of procedures to follow if an employee does report symptoms. *This tip was taken from Gensler (read their tips for returning to the office here)

6 – Continue video and phone conferences: Keep all of your employees connected by continuing the use of video and phone conferences until it is safe to return to normal workplace practices.

7 – Clear communication: The only way to transition efficiently is to communicate each of the steps you’re taking to transition with your employees and provide resources as necessary. Create office diagrams, write out and share your new operating procedures, or create a video of how to properly sanitize workstations. Whatever methods you choose to implement, make sure all of your employees know what they are and have the resources to follow them.

8 – Slowly phase more employees onto the rotating schedule and workstations: As appropriately (following CDC and local ordinances), add more employees to the office roster. This should be done in stages and it’s best to know what those stages are ahead of time. 

Outline exactly how many employees will be added at a time and how the workstations will be filled and stay abreast of ongoing CDC recommendations.

For more resources, refer to the Department of Labor, your city government and CDC guidelinesto help you establish the safest way to get back into the office.

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