Creating a “Return to the Office” Plan

Now, more than ever, business owners are realizing that many of their decisions can have a deep impact on the longevity of their businesses, such as making difficult staffing and compensation decisions, searching for new business strategies, and reevaluating goals and objectives to remain realistic in this current environment.  One such decision is determining when – and how – to bring employees back into the office.

If you are starting the journey of bringing employees back into a brick and mortar building, make sure you have thought through every aspect of the work environment to uncover questions, potential pitfalls, creative solutions, and more. Here are a few things to help you get started as you begin to create a plan to return to the office:

  1. Have you determined which jobs can continue to be remote and which jobs must be done in person (production roles, etc.) or are more easily done in person (file management, etc)?
  2. Will you bring everyone back at once or will you phase people in gradually? What criteria will you use to phase people in?
  3. Will you limit the number of employees allowed in the office at one time by utilizing creative scheduling, shift work, or partial remote workforce continuation?
  4. What “normal” work activities will have to be reassessed to determine if they should still take place once business resumes? Will staff meetings take place in conference rooms? Will client site visits still take place? Will group onboarding or training sessions need to be reevaluated?
  5. Is your physical work environment ready for employees to return? How frequently is your building being cleaned? Do you have a common break room?  Does your kitchen area have a shared coffee machine, dishes or mugs? Do you have hand sanitizer, soap or disinfectant wipes easily accessible?
  6. What is your strategy for employee recognition and gatherings going forward? How have you typically shared recognition in the past? Do you need to reassess team potluck lunches, birthday celebrations, or group outings?
  7. Will you require employees to wear masks and/or gloves while in the office? Are you prepared to provide them?
  8. How will you respond if some employees do not feel safe returning to work?
  9. How will you communicate the “Return to the Office” plan to your employees? Will you offer an outlet for employees’ input, questions, or concerns?

There are countless other questions to ask when creating your plan to bring employees back. For assistance with your plan, please contact Berger HR Solutions at info@bergerhrsolutions or (410) 695-9888.