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Guidelines for Reopening Office After COVID-19 Impact

As many stay-at-home orders begin to expire, state government leaders throughout the country are implementing plans to reopen companies. Many businesses are also deciding when is the right time to bring staff back to work. As a company leader, you are focused on making decisions that ensure the safety of your workforce, and you must detailed strategies and protocols set up before bringing staff back to the office. In this article, we will cover the various factors HR and business leaders have to keep in mind when reopening workplaces.

CDC Return to Work Guidelines

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance to assist advice companies preparing to reopen. The CDC recommends that companies shouldn’t reopen unless they can answer yes to those three questions:

  • Are you in a community that no longer needs significant mitigation (or restricting operations to designated essential crucial workers)?
  • Will you be able to limit non-essential employees to those from the local geographic area?
  • Do you have protective measures for workers at higher risk (e.g., teleworking, jobs that minimize contact)?

Even if companies have the ability to meet these requirements, the CDC recommends that companies remain closed until they could implement the following safeguards to combat the spread of this virus, such as:

  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting by hiring professional¬†Commercial Cleaning Services in Denton
  • Social distancing
  • Seating distance of at least 6 feet and staggered gathering (starting/closing) occasions
  • Telework and cancellation of non-essential business travel
  • Restricted use of any common items or spaces
  • Staff training on security procedures

Last, the CDC recommends that companies ought to refrain from opening until they can produce ongoing protocols that closely track employee well-being and security. These include:

  • Having sick workers remain home
  • Placing regular, daily employee health checks
  • Monitoring absenteeism and having adjustable time off policies
  • Take an action plan in case a worker or employee tests positive/presumptive positive for COVID-19
  • Creating and testing emergency communication stations for employees
  • Establishing communications with state and local authorities

Even after following these suggested practices, businesses will confront questions along with other challenging decisions that affect employee safety. As an HR or business leader, work closely with your executive team or business continuity team to address the following scenarios.

Determine Which Workers Return First

It’s unlikely that all your employees will return at once, so start by considering what teams or departments should return first based on company requirements and capacity to follow appropriate safety protocols such as social distancing. Regardless of what choices you make, make sure you record the legitimate business reasons for choosing employees to come back if queries arise.

Implement Social Distancing Procedures

To help reduce the number of employees on-site, you will likely be tasked with reconfiguring your workplace and staggering work hours or perhaps alternating work times for various groups or teams. Here are social bookmarking practices and suggestions to think about:

  • Social distancing rules ought to be conveyed electronically or in hardcopy at workstations and common areas
  • You may want to provide a training video that outlines the new procedures
  • Offer work-from-home options for all workers who can perform assignments remotely
  • Stagger changes and start times to optimize distancing
  • Evaluate workplace layouts and consider changes if societal distancing guidelines can’t otherwise be fulfilled
  • Use barriers to block airborne particles and ensure minimum distances in the workplace, as recommended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Provide visual markers on flooring for six-foot distancing, Per CDC guidance
  • Develop protocols to prevent crowding in elevators
  • Close or modify certain common areas, such as lunchrooms, time clock channels and office fitness facilities to promote social distancing
  • Instruct employees to deliver their dishes that can be eaten without using a microwave
  • Prohibit nonessential sellers and deliveries from entering the facility
  • Require deliveries to be dropped outside the door, eliminating sellers from entering the facility

Continuing Remote Work

Working from home is not for everyone, but you may be surprised to find that a few of your workers are flourishing in this new atmosphere. If you’re considering reopening, consider which employees can continue to work remotely so that you can adjust your workplaces to adapt to social distancing. One way you can better understand the advantages and disadvantages of working from home would be to provide your employees with a survey.

This is a superb opportunity to understand their challenges and learn what resources or tools you can offer to support your workers’ new environment. You might also use the questionnaire to see which of your employees are familiar with their arrangements and may not have to immediately return to the workplace.

In-Person Meetings & Conferences

Even if you plan to reopen, run meetings virtually as much as possible. If in-person meetings are deemed necessary, they should follow social distancing requirements. Don’t forget to also implement protocols for sanitizing assembly spaces between encounters across the workday.

Resuming Business Travel

Most businesses have fully suspended all travel for their workers, particularly as shelter-in-place directives are handed down by state and local governments. Even as businesses abound, carefully consider your travel coverages and err on the side of caution. The CDC recommends needing a two-week quarantine for employees traveling more than a hundred miles from your facility.

Managing the Spread of COVID-19: How to Handle Employees Impacted by the Virus

You may be faced with situations where an employee tests positive for COVID-19 or presents symptoms without formally being diagnosed. Listed below are recommended guidelines to follow based on the scenario:

Presenting Symptoms of COVID-19

If an employee suffered from a fever and cough, was not positively diagnosed for COVID-19 and has recovered, they could return to work under these conditions:

  • A minimum of 3 days has passed since healing, without a fever for 72 hours. Employees also have to have no unusual temperature for 72 hours without the use of any fever-reducing medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen.
  • Their respiratory symptoms have enhanced
  • 7 days have passed because symptoms first started

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 with No Symptoms

If an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 but has not exhibited symptoms or become ill, they need to stay in isolation following their identification. Depending on the CDC guidelines, they could return to work after meeting the following requirements:

  • At least 7 days have passed since the date of the first Positive COVID-19 test
  • For an additional 3 days after they end isolation, they continue to restrict telephone (stay 6 feet off) with other people
  • They wear a mask or other covering of the nose and mouth to restrict vulnerability

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 although Not Requiring Hospitalization

If an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and has become mildly or moderately ill on account of the virus but did not require hospitalization, they could go back to work after meeting the following conditions:

  • A minimum of 3 days has passed since their recovery, with no abnormal fever for a minimum of 72 hours. Employees must have no significant temperature for 72 hours without using any fever-reducing medications like aspirin, acetaminophen, or aspirin.
  • Respiratory symptoms have enhanced
  • The employee shows no indications of COVID-19
  • The employee has had 2 confirmed negative COVID-19 evaluations, administered by a medical professional and spaced at least 24 hours apart

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 Requiring Hospitalization

These folks pose the highest risk of spreading disease across your workforce. The CDC recommends that any worker who has received a positive evaluation and continues to be hospitalized receive rigorous testing before returning to work because they may experience longer periods of viral detection in contrast to those with moderate or mild symptoms.

Reopening your office after COVID-19 lockdown, first of all, you require professional cleaning services like Dallas Janitorial Services for cleaning and sanitizing your workplace for your employee safely.

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