Now that the pandemic seems to be winding down, people are beginning to travel again, and many companies are calling their workers back into the office. The problem right now, however, is that the virus is not completely gone. It is still circulating and causing problems albeit at a much lower level than in the past two years.
This means that, although it is possible for workers to return, it is still going to pose certain problems. It will take some changes in how the office operates and even how the layout is constructed to make sure people can stay healthy when they return to work.
There may be some debate about the details such as the need to require a PCR vs rapid test result to return or some other measure. In this article, we will go over what it will take to return workers to the office.
1 – Change the layout
Maintaining the distance between workers is still going to be important. This is especially true if you are not requiring them to wear masks again. There should still be around six feet of distance between desks to make sure that workers are not breathing right onto each other.
Try to also group areas to avoid too many instances of different departments having to interact with others. This is to minimize an infection spreading quickly through the office. If somebody gets sick it will be contained to the one department in most cases.
The layout can keep people from circulating too much. This also means that areas, where people congregate, will have to be adapted so only people from that department can be there. Every department will need its own area.
2 – Go with hybrid approach
Although many managers want their employees back in the office, there is an approach that will have them in part of the time. This is a hybrid approach in which people will still mainly work from home and then come to the office for specific reasons.
If the job is client facing part of the time then coming in just for the times when the employee has to physically be there for the client’s sake then this approach would work well to keep the office from being too crowded.
This not only will keep the office from getting crowded but it also keeps employees off of public transportation where they have a high risk of infection.
3 – Improve ventilation
Indoor air quality is directly linked to the spread of airborne diseases such as influenza and measles in addition to Covid-19. Upgrading your ventilation system will dramatically reduce the spread of all kinds of diseases. Since so many days of work are lost to Covid-19 among others, this upgrade will end up saving money in the long run.
Even the simplest ventilation exhaust system will help as long as it is replacing all of the air in the office several times per hour. Calling in a HVAC professional to do an audit of your needs is the first step.