How to create a return to office after COVID checklist

Lists are everywhere. Besides being a popular way to rank Friends characters or the best baseball players, they’re also a great way to stay organized. Making a list can help you present thoughts in a clean format that turns ideas into action items. And when you write something down, it’s easier to remember it later on.

As employers face the complex situation of returning to the office in the wake of the pandemic, it makes sense to draw up a return to office after COVID checklist. You’ll need to account for several factors to prepare employees to reunite at the workplace. A checklist can help ensure you cover all of these items.

Here are some of the ideas you should consider as you write your checklist.

Make a plan

When returning to the office, don’t put the cart before the horse. You can’t jump in headfirst and pretend you’ll be able to work the same way you did before the pandemic. Write a return to office after COVID checklist that makes allowances for adaptations to normal working conditions.

Try to anticipate your employees’ needs so you can present uniform and thorough policies once you begin reaching out to your team. What is your mask policy? Are you going to require vaccinations? What are you going to do if one of your employees tests positive for the virus? These are the types of questions you need to ask before you return to the office.

Sanitize your office

Prior to the pandemic, you probably made sure your office was clean and hygienic. But your return to office after COVID checklist should have action items related to proper workplace sanitation.

Also think about how well your current office setup and operations can keep your employees safe. Perhaps you can restructure your office layout to follow social distancing measures. Consider increasing the number of times a janitorial team cleans your office each week, and encourage healthy practices within the space by installing hand sanitizer stations.

Returning to the office is only going to work if you’re able to stay there. That means acknowledging the circumstances and doing everything you can to make sure employees will feel comfortable coming to the office.

Establish communication

Effective communication will make the transition back to the office easier and less confusing. Your checklist should outline how you’re going to alert your employees about the return to the office and how you’ll tell them about changes. One way to do this is to make sure your teams in charge of employee outreach are on the same page and understand their responsibilities within your checklist.

While you’re the one designing your return to office after COVID checklist, coming back to work is a collective effort. Each of your employees needs to follow your plan for it to function effectively.

You could encourage employees to do their part by putting up signs with CDC guidelines as well as reminders about their roles in returning to work. Tell your employees about your decisions on office sanitization and how else you’re ensuring their safety, but also emphasize that you expect them to follow your protocols and self-report if they’ve traveled or if they feel any symptoms.

With open communication, you won’t have to monitor your employees’ behavior as much. As long as you take the necessary steps to alert employees to your expectations, you can quickly take care of any issues you encounter.

Prepare to adapt

Once you come back to the office, your work isn’t done. Your checklist should include plans to address any problems that may arise. For example, if you suspect someone in your office has been exposed to the virus, you’ll need strategies to notify your employees.

You’ll also need to decide whether or not you want your employees to be vaccinated and provide educational materials if anyone is resistant. Decide how you’ll manage visitors and educate them about your in-office policies before they enter your workplace. Institute virus-screening protocols and design checkpoints for temperature checks.

Returning to work is about eliminating uncertainty, so the more you can control, the better.

Develop a tracking system

Since returning to work will be a fluid process, you’re going to need a way to keep track of the flow of people into your office and catalog your day-to-day efforts. Enter JotForm. With JotForm, you can create your own return to office after COVID checklist to reference your protocols and make sure your employees are following guidelines.

JotForm also offers health checklist and symptom checklist templates to get ahead of any potential infections. Plus, you can integrate outside software with JotForm’s coronavirus response forms to help you catalog and monitor your policies, manage your employees, or design templates that work best for you.

Get organized

No one said coming back to the office was going to be easy. These are unprecedented times, and there isn’t exactly a guidebook for returning to work in a pandemic. That’s why developing organizational procedures with the help of a return to office after COVID checklist eases the burden.

Your goal should be to develop plans that last through the pandemic and help you avoid any roadblocks. It’s up to you to figure out how you can keep your employees safe and begin your return to normal.

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This article is originally published on Jul 05, 2021, and updated on Jul 14, 2021.
AUTHOR
A compliance geek of occupational health and safety standards. There are no work accidents, there is less precaution.

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