Returning to Work Safely (Town Hall 3.2.2021)
As employers start to consider bringing their employees back to an in-person office, there are many things that should be done to bring back employees in a safe and clean environment. But first- you need a well-thought-out plan.
Return to Work Safely
PwC interviewed 1200 office workers and 133 executives- remote work has been an overwhelming success and 83% of employers/employees say it has “exceeded their expectations”. 87% of executives expect to bring employees back, but will be making changes to their offices in the next 12 months. Nearly 90% employees want to go back, but most do not want to return every day.
Least experienced workers (less than 5 years of professional experience) are missing out the most- missing the training, socialization and career development. In this survey, 55% of employees would prefer to be remote at least 3 days a week- compared to 68% of employers believe that the employees should come back to the office at least 3 days per week.
How do we get employees back safely?
The first step to returning to work is developing your plan and communicating it to your employees. Make sure your employees know that this is a well thought out plan with their needs and wants kept in mind. Here are the 8 most important pieces of your return to work plan:
- Anticipated Return to Work Date
- Disinfecting and cleaning measures
- Social distancing protocol
- Employee screening procedures
- Employee safety training
- Mental health considerations
- Process for individualized requests
- Updating the office layout
What Tenants Can Ask For/What Landlords Can Do:
We are seeing upgrading of HVAC, improving filtration systems, etc throughout the area. Landlords are investing to have a safe and well building for occupants and guests. Social distancing in the common areas is very important- including elevators; an option is “destination elevators”- which go directly to the selected floor without stopping at additional floors.
Amenity floors, limited to lower occupancy is very important. Enhanced cleaning protocol in tenant spaces is crucial during this time.
Case Study: Savills Philadelphia
Took 50% of the density out of the office and spread employees out.
- Self screen /temperature screening, with QR code questionnaire
- Limited people in conference rooms
- Signage to stay six feet apart; to encourage social distancing
- Do not congregate in the common areas (kitchen)
- Situation path- arrows on the floor, eliminating passing face to face
- Using multiple signs throughout the building
- Reduce bottleneck of elevator usage by staggering time of entry/exit
Signage- Make it fun!
Considerations for the future
Beyond this immediate return, the future vision is now taking shape. Many employees will not return as they used to work. Work, in the traditional form, does not have to exist physically in the workplace. We plan to see more upgraded buildings with HVAC, filtration systems and more.
Changes from COVID-19 are going to be more “people-first” environments.
Watch the full webinar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4YMmFNsJfo
- Travel restrictions lifted as of March 1, no more 14-day quarantine after returning to the state, or negative test result required.
- Occupancy Restrictions- 15-20% of maximum occupancy at venues, depending on type of event and venue.
- Legalization of Marijuana in New Jersey: pre-employment testing may be going away. The law says you need a positive test and an observation from an individual saying that the employee is impaired.