Admittedly, at the moment it is still a long way off when shops will reopen, schoolchildren will go back to school and employees will go back to the office. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about returning. On the contrary!
Last year, many companies moved to the home office almost overnight. The uncertainty and difficulties that arose in many places were correspondingly great at first. The big advantage of returning to the right office? You know that it will be so far at some point, this time the change can be planned.
So you can prepare yourself for it in peace and develop the best strategy for yourself, whether, how and when you and your team will return to the office. The following tips will help you prepare.
How do you decide when to go back to the office?
One of the first The question that arises is when it is actually safe to return to the office. If you have informed yourself sufficiently about the following questions and can answer them satisfactorily, nothing should stand in the way of returning to the office:
- What local restrictions are there?
- How is the Covid-19 situation in your region? Are the cases going back?
- How many employees work in your company?
- How is the atmosphere in the team? Do employees feel comfortable at the thought of returning to the office?
- Do you have the resources to prepare the office for the return?
- Is your company able to provide the health and maintain the level of hygiene in everyday office life?
If the answers here consistently positive, you can start developing a concept. Make sure to be transparent to your employees. Keep them up to date, involve them in the decision-making process wherever possible, and make sure that everyone is always on the same page. This is achieved, for example, via central documents in the cloud, which everyone can access at any time in the home office.
The next step should be a good well thought-out hygiene and safety concept. Do you still need protective equipment in the office, such as partitions between the individual workstations or disinfection stations in the rooms? Do you have to reduce the capacity in your office and first create a plan for who can go into the office and when? Perhaps, however, a hygiene policy communicated in advance will help to protect all employees. Ultimately, the size of your office and the ability to keep your distance will also help you make decisions. You should also find out what the legal situation looks like and to what extent official regulations can be implemented for you.
Back-to-work plan: Here’s how!
The involvement of your team cannot be valued highly enough in the current situation, because: Those of your team who are starting to get hit by the roof in the home office have something to work towards and look forward to. And those who would like to continue working from home even after the lockdown have the opportunity to express their wishes and help shape decisions. Even if your hygiene and security concept ensures that everything runs smoothly, now is the right time to ask your employees what they want after the home office. Perhaps some have enjoyed working from home and would like more flexible attendance times in the future? Especially in these turbulent times, companies should also have an open ear for their employees and, if possible, also respond to their needs. This also makes it easier to organize your return and at the same time contributes to the satisfaction of your team.
The process of reopening your office should be divided into different phases. This can serve you as a little guide to create a certain structure in an initially chaotic time. You can also always check which phase your company is in and whether everything is going according to plan. What can the individual phases look like? That depends on the type of your company.
It would be ideal if you always approach a little bit of normality phase by phase. For example, in the first phase you can bring ten to 15 percent of your employees back to the office. In the second, you can increase to 15 to 40 percent and divide your employees into different shifts until you get to the point where all colleagues can work together in the office again.
Of course nobody can look into the future. So it may very well be that your plan turns out differently than you imagine. So two phases can take place at the same time or one phase can even be skipped. The advantage of this step-by-step approach is that you can always return to a previous phase. Should the number of infections rise again, you can react immediately and minimize the occupancy of your office space again.