For decades, companies have relied on their employees being in the office to get work done. However, 2020 saw that concept get thrown out the window by businesses that had yet to adopt flexible working.
Millions of people were forced to work from home, with some embracing the change while others detested it. With the start of the pandemic now far behind us, some companies have returned to their offices while others have yet to go back.
If you’re in the latter group and unsure what the smartest decision is, here are a few questions to ask yourself.
What’s The Current Situation?
Although the pandemic is a global situation, it’s not impacting every part of the world in the same way. For instance, countries in western Europe are faring far worse with the virus than they are in Australia and New Zealand. It’s worth seeing what the situation is like where you live first before making any decisions about your workplace.
If thousands of people are testing positive every day, it’s probably unwise to reopen the office right now. If it’s the reverse, and only a handful of people seem to be coming down with the illness, then there’s less reason to keep your workplace closed. As long as you follow the necessary precautions, the risk of spreading the virus in the office should be incredibly slim.
How Do Your Employees Feel?
A business is nothing without its staff, so any big decisions you make about the office must sit well with them. There’s no point in opening everything back up if all of your employees aren’t comfortable with the idea. That’s just going to lead to stress and anxiety in the workplace, which can affect their productivity and performance.
The best thing to do is to speak with your staff and gauge how they feel about returning to the office. If the majority of them support the idea, it’s worth going ahead with it. Provided it’s efficient enough to do so, those who are reluctant should be allowed to continue working from home. Just because you reopen the office, that doesn’t mean that everyone has to come back at once.
Can You Keep It Clean?
If you’re going to return to the office and have people coming and going every day, bringing their germs with them, then a rigorous cleaning routine is essential. The workplace is only going to be safe for you and your staff if all the surfaces are free of potential germs.
That responsibility is best placed on professional office cleaning companies who do this for a living. If you’re based in and around Perth, the best option is to go for Nexus Kleen, who are renowned more for their services than other local office cleaning companies. Available to visit weekly for a discounted price, their thorough and expert staff are more than capable of keeping any germs at bay.
Try out their services for free and see if their work is to your liking. If so, you know you’ll have one less thing to worry about when you reopen the office.
Can The Office Be Made Safer?
A regular cleaning schedule isn’t the only necessary precaution to ensure that the office is safe to work in. Specific changes need to be made to keep employees protected throughout the day, some of which might not be possible to apply depending on your workplace.
For one, desks should be kept apart to prevent staff from having close contact during the day. This could be an issue if the available space is small and doesn’t allow for effective social distancing. It can also be problematic if you relied on systems like hot-desking before the pandemic.
Ventilation is another area to consider. If it’s not possible to keep air flowing through the office, whether that be via windows or an air conditioning unit, then you might want to wait to reopen your workplace. If your staff have to breathe in the same air for hours every day, the risk of infection will go right up.
Is The Hassle Worth It?
In the past, people didn’t typically think twice about their behaviour in the office. Now, going to work comes with a risk of catching this potentially deadly virus, so a lot of precautions are necessary to stay safe.
Aside from the changes to and maintenance of the office, there are additional actions that might be expected of employers and employees. For instance, wearing face masks while at work or sanitising door handles and other frequently touched surfaces whenever they’re used. These might be considered essential safety measures, but they can also be a hassle to deal with. It’s worth asking yourself – and your employees, too – whether this extra effort is worth it just to be back in the office.
It’s also a good idea to check what the World Health Organisation recommends in regards to office safety precautions. This will help you and your employees to understand what steps you need to take moving forward.
If the government isn’t prohibiting companies from reopening their offices, then whether or not you should bring your employees back is entirely up to you. There’s no right or wrong answer in this situation, provided you consider these questions and reach a verdict that you believe will satisfy everyone.