Employees in the office? Making the tough decisions to make all employees happy

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The COVID-19 pandemic has created myriad challenges for business leaders focused on maintaining business continuity and keeping financial performance strong. But as shelter-in-place restrictions start to ease across much of the country, there’s yet a new challenge emerging: what to do about employees returning to the office.

Some employees are itching to get out of their homes and back in the office. Others may not feel comfortable yet being around larger groups of people. So how do you cater to both groups and create a system that is fair, safe and productive? Here are some tips on how to navigate that process and create a comfortable work environment for all your employees, wherever they may be.

Work from home best practices for employers

When formulating plans for your office employees as a whole, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Communicate

Communication is key during times like these, so no matter what form your plans take, be sure you are communicating clearly and frequently to keep all your employees in the loop and feeling confident you have things under control.

Update

Update your plans as the situation changes in the communities where your employees work. Show that you care about their wellbeing by monitoring the local situation and updating plans accordingly. You should also consider surveying your employees regularly to find out what is and isn’t working so you can create a plan that meets everyone’s needs.

Empathize

Whether an employee decides to come back into the office or continue working from home, they’re making that decision based on what they think is best for themselves and their family. Respect that decision and show that you understand how difficult this situation may be. Employees that feel heard and appreciated will almost always be happier in the long run.

Office safety tips for returning employees

To ensure employees can safely return to the office, you’ll need to devise a comprehensive safety plan while putting the mechanisms in place to execute that plan and facilitate productivity.

Complete office sanitization system

Keeping employees happy and healthy starts by finding a way to sanitize your office from top to bottom without creating unnecessary disturbances. You can hire a cleaning crew to make visits several time a day, or mitigate expenses by empowering your facilities personnel with innovative sprayer technology that allows them to sanitize surfaces in minutes.

View the CDC’s cleaning and disinfecting recommendations.

Safety plan

Implement protocols for everyone coming in and out of the office, which may include a sign-in sheet, temperature checks, maintaining distance between workspaces and other social distancing measures. Empower employees to clean any areas they use and place reminders throughout the space to encourage safe practices.

Show your appreciation

You don’t want to make it seem like coming into the office is a risk or a sacrifice, as this could actually make employees more uncomfortable. But you should show employees that you appreciate the effort it takes to continue operating as normal in a world that is anything but. A small gift or a catered meal can go a long way toward keeping employees happy.

Supporting employees who are working from home

Not everyone can make a smooth transition from the office to their home. To keep employees happy and productive, you may need to meet them halfway.

Provide tools

Make sure your employees have everything they need to be productive and happy working from home. This includes technology like laptops and collaboration software. But it may also include links to community resources, space to connect socially with coworkers online or employee assistance programs that can help bridge the gap between the pre- and post-pandemic worlds.

Set expectations

Quality employees understand that working from home is no excuse to slack off. But you also need to set clear, reasonable expectations. Particularly given that certain processes may have changed along with their work environment. When employees know what is expected of them, they are better able to meet those expectations and feel more satisfied with their work overall.

Establish a timeline

Whether you hope to have everyone back in the office soon or are adopting a “work from home indefinitely” stance, employees need to be able to plan their lives in order to be happy. Give them a timeline of when you might expect them back in the office so they can coordinate family schedules. If your timeline is unclear at the moment, then say that. Anything is better than ambiguity in a world full of unanswered questions.

Need a fast, effective sanitization solution for your office space? EnviroPro Solutions’ easy-to-operate electrostatic sprayers can disinfect surfaces in a matter of minutes. Sanitize up to 23,000 ft2 on a single tank of chemical solution.