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How to Prepare Your Workspace for a Safe Return to Office Plan

A business person wearing a suit taps a button labeled health and safety, right over one labeled workplace.The year 2020 was a wild ride, and devastating for many people and businesses. 

Many businesses were forced to go remote or completely revamp the way their staff and customers interact with their products and services. This surreal shift has left some companies adopting new policies. Now with the vaccines being released and people using safer practices, some businesses have begun to plan their return to work.

Some companies that transitioned their staff to remote work plan on returning them to the office this year. Even if we can’t predict when this move will be safe to make, we can get a plan in place for how your business can redesign your workplace to include safety precautions. Keep reading to learn more about our tips on what to consider while building your return to office remodeling.

1. Dividing Working Roles for Remote and On-Site Options

One of the most important takeaways from the Pandemic social distancing guidelines for businesses has been how successful workers can still be when working from home. Now with the return to workplace opportunity returning, your company has the option to offer remote or blended work (partially remote, partially on-site). Remote workers may need new training. However, if you will hire new workers, your applicant pool can range all over the country or even the world. This new working environment option can be a good fit both for your staff and your company. 

2. Redesign Your Workplace While Supporting the Organization’s Priorities

Offices change to suit the times and the needs of the company and its staff. A complete room of offices changed to cubicles, and that changed to open floor plans. Now in the wake of COVID-19, more changes will come. Spaces can be made to accommodate various workflows, including meeting spaces between on-site and remote workers. There may be several smaller “satellite offices” available for employees who do not have regular meetings. Consider how to layout your office based on the needs of your employees and their individual daily needs.

3. Physical Changes to Your Office

Make sure to review the current workspace for your office based on OSHA’s guidelines. Note, these guidelines have changed since the pandemic began to keep workers safe from COVID-19. Some of the OSHA guidelines include:

  • Create Barriers - Have plexiglass or other solid barriers, screens, or separating obstacles between employees who sit near each other or between employees and the customers.
  • Shift the Furniture - If you can move desks, chairs, or other work furniture further away from others, do it.
  • Limit Shared Equipment Use - As much as possible, limit the sharing of any equipment.

4. Social Distancing

Create a plan around social distancing and make sure to post this plan around the office. Some suggestions we would recommend include:

  • Reduce Gatherings - You can consider having fewer meetings, hosting virtual meetings, and reducing the number of chairs in common areas such as break rooms or kitchens. 
  • Adjust or Coordinate Schedules - You have an option to stagger the shifts of your employees to keep some distance between people. Everyone doesn’t need to come and go at the same time - it might even be more beneficial to have some people start earlier and others come in later.
  • Limit Commuting Issues - Consider remote work options for employees who need to use crowded public transportation. 

Now is the Time to Plan Your Safe Return to Work Plan with Expert Designers and Contractors

Given the current circumstances, creativity in your office design is needed. Make sure to follow the steps above when planning how to shake up your office to keep everyone safe. Don’t worry about the pressure to get everything right in your plan when you have the experts at Balbes Custom Building on your side. Our team of experts will follow OSHA’s guidelines and your needs to give your staff the office they need to be successful. Give us a call today.