Checklist for office organization – Returning to the office with YOUR SPACE desk sharing
The pandemic has made it incredibly difficult to return to the office. Not only are situations constantly changing, but well-devised plans for protecting employees at the office are needed. Within that context, it is not just about observing established hygiene measures. Aspects such as an employee’s individual route to work can also play a role. To ensure they have a clear overview of who is at the office and consequently be able to organize everyone involved, more and more employers are relying on so-called desk sharing solutions. These solutions offer many benefits. Providers like YOUR SPACE provide more than just a function for simplifying compliance with distancing rules at the office or documenting compliance with the 3G rule-of-three (vaccinated, recovered, tested). With their function for workspace reservations, they also provide a valuable organizational tool for complying with the hygiene concept and distancing rules. These tools truly help prevent chains of infection and help protect employees.
The mandatory home office requirement that was introduced as part of the infection protection law was officially lifted on March 19, 2022. For many companies, this raised the question once again of how to organize an office during a pandemic.
To ensure a pandemic-appropriate and employee-safe return to the office, we have put together the following guide that provides ideas, tips and rules for doing so. We hope this guide makes it easier for you to accomplish the task ahead.
Planning and preparing for the return of employees to the office
Naturally, employees all had a different reaction to working from home. For some it made it easier for them to manage their day-to-day lives, while others missed the social interactions with their colleagues at work or struggled with separating their professional and personal lives when it all took place within the same four walls. To make re-entry into office life as easy for employees as possible, we recommend conducting a survey in advance and then having employees return in increments.
To do so, it is important to find out:
- Who wants to come back to the office?
- How many days a week?
- What do employees expect when returning to the office in order to feel safe there?
This data can then be analyzed and summarized to provide an overview of what employees have in mind and what measures they expect to be taken. This can be compared to what the company had in mind and the hygiene concept, and can even be expanded to include suggestions that may be good ideas. Aside from employees who never could work from home for operational reasons, this data gives companies an overview of which employees might be more willing to return first, thereby simplifying the incremental approach, and prevents potential discrepancies within a team from developing in the first place. In addition, crisis teams can be formed to ensure critical positions are always staffed and reduce the amount of direct contact between employees within the company. To do so, it is important to find out:
- Which disciplines need to be represented on-site at all times and to what extent?
- Could some sort of rotation system be introduced for different teams?
The hygiene concept and usage rules
In addition to rules for being at the office, a well-devised and well-implemented hygiene concept forms another key part of minimizing the risk of infection. Before allowing increased office occupancy again, zones that might pose a higher risk should be identified and adequate disinfectant obtained. We have drafted the following guidelines for that purpose:
- Ensure regular disinfection of office spaces
- Ensure minimum distancing of 1.5 meters between people
- FFP2 masks must be worn when not at a desk
- If minimum distancing cannot be observed, an FFP2 mask must be worn when in doubt
- Anyone with respiratory symptoms or cold symptoms must stay at home
- If possible: Set up separate entries and exits
- Determine the maximum capacity for buildings, conference rooms and office rooms and label accordingly
- Regular cleaning of door handles, railings and light switches
- Instruct employees in the hygiene and distancing rules
- Post the hygiene rules throughout the building
- Occupational medical precautions and protections for high-risk people
- Designation of a primary Covid contact party
- Compliance with the 3G rules (vaccinated, recovered, tested)
- Regular ventilation of all areas and rooms
- Procurement of air exchangers for rooms that cannot be aired out
- Disinfectant dispenser placed in a location that is easy to see
- Provision of FFP2 masks
- Provision of travel-sized bottles of disinfectant
Offices and workspaces
- Determine the maximum number of people allowed per office and label accordingly
- Avoid multiple occupancies in rooms
- Provide disinfectant and cleaning agents in rooms
- Air out regularly
- Use available room capacities
- Distancing rules must be followed
- FFP2 masks must be worn
- Seating areas must be labeled accordingly
- Rooms must be thoroughly ventilated after each meeting and any areas used disinfected and cleaned
- The maximum number of people allowed per conference room must be determined and the room labeled accordingly
Dining areas and lounges
- Provision of disinfectant dispensers
- Compliance with distancing rules
- Markings to identify seating and dining areas
- Provision of gentle liquid soap
- Provision of disposable gloves
- Regular disinfection and cleaning of seating and dining areas
- Switch to disposable hand towels for cleaning hands
- Expansion of canteen and food serving hours
- Determine maximum number of people allowed and label accordingly
- Clearly visible hygiene guidelines for hand washing
- Provision of gentle liquid soap
- Provision of disposable hand towels for cleaning hands
Route to work
- How many employees take public transportation to work?
- Could alternatives be offered, like bike or scooter sharing services or car sharing?
YOUR ROOM makes returning to the office and organizing hybrid work models easy. An integrated function for ensuring distancing rules or for documenting 3G (vaccinated, recovered, tested) models makes implementing hygiene models considerably easier.
More information on the YOUR SPACE workspace reservation software can be found at www.deinraum.io