It’s been months of video conferences and new work-from-home operations for your website design agency. For a team that thrives on collaboration and innovation, you’re all probably itching to get back to business, water those office plants, and finally, look at your co-workers face-to-face. While current restrictions might make your triumphant return look a little different, there’s plenty you can do to make the office feel welcoming and safe. First thing is to welcome your employees back slowly.
1. Bring Staff Back Slowly
While the challenges of working from home may be pushing an ASAP return, it’s best to keep your in-office team small. Fewer people in the office mean a lower chance for exposure and more effective social distancing. Think about what roles need to take place in your physical location and who has the most trouble working from home. Facilities and IT teams will likely be among your first to return.
The White House’s plan for reopening businesses recommends returning to work in phases. Consider the needs of your most at-risk employees and allow them to continue working from home. You can also stagger arrivals and departures to avoid people congregating in parking lots or doorways.
2. Keep Work From Home On The Table
Like many companies, you may have seen a productivity boost thanks to remote work. In March and April of 2020, United States workers were 47% more productive than they were in the same two months of 2019. The benefits of working from home have been felt by companies long before the pandemic. Gallup research shows that those who work remotely 60 to 80% of the time are the most engaged.
Working from home is an attractive benefit, and your recent experiment with remote work has made it more possible to offer it as an option. Some employees may prefer the routine of coming in and leaving their desks at the day’s end. Others may be outperforming themselves working on their couch. Now that you know it’s possible and even more profitable to allow remote work, consider making it an option for those who want it.
3. Prepare Socially Distant Workspaces
Social distancing requires individuals to stay 6 feet apart. In the office, this means keeping workstations separate. Popular digital marketing agency setups, such as workbenches and desk clumps, may have to be rearranged. You can also consider adding partitions between workstations. As part of federal reopening guidelines, businesses should close all common areas where people are likely to congregate or enforce strict social distancing. Floor markers can ensure people stay distant while walking the halls.
4. Provide Sanitation Stations And Reusable Masks
It’s also crucial to make sure your team can stay clean at the office. Sanitation stations throughout the workplace can prevent infections and increase a sense of safety among your workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends people wear cloth face masks when out in public.
As an employer, you can distribute face coverings to your team to keep everyone healthy. While all the new safety measures can dampen the mood, colorful or whimsical face masks can turn a necessity into something fun and positive.
5. Perform On-Site Screenings And Wellness Check-Ins
A crucial part of keeping your workforce safe is keeping sick people out of the office. The CDC recommends companies conduct daily health checks to test for fevers or other symptoms of COVID-19.
Employees may feel stressed as they return to work amid a global pandemic and learn new rules around the office. So while safety requires checking for symptoms, consider using it as an opportunity to check in on emotional well-being. Ask your team to weigh in on safety issues and communicate about their own needs. Incorporating wellness check-ins can be a powerful way to boost morale and improve your team’s emotional health during this confusing time.
6. Do A Physical And Digital Deep Clean
While you may already be planning for frequent disinfection upon your return to the office, you should schedule some digital spring cleaning, too. Working from home has likely put a strain on your IT tools, as people scrambled to get their files, devices, and applications up and running at home or transferred their work to personal devices. You may have also invested in some new technologies to boost productivity while away from the office.
Transitioning back to agency life is the perfect time for IT to take stock of your digital assets and integrate new systems to get everything running smoothly.
7. Brighten Up The Office
Socially distant workstations, masks, and health screenings can be confusing and stressful for your team. So, lessen the burden by bringing in new elements to give the office a warm, inviting atmosphere. One option is to incorporate standing desks, which get the creative juices flowing while helping office workers improve their health.
Another simple and effective idea is to change the lighting. Light-emitting diodes (LED) have been shown to increase productivity compared to fluorescent lighting. High-quality LED lighting mimics sunlight and can have positive effects on cognition and sleep to help your workforce feel their best and stay healthy.
8. Say Thank You And Welcome Back
Staying productive while working from home has been no easy feat. As consumers worldwide began spending more time at home and online, digital marketing became critical for many of your clients. So, your team amped things up while learning the ropes of the remote work lifestyle.
To reward all this hard work and make your return a bit more exciting, try saying thanks with some gifts for your hard-working superstars. Whether it’s a catered meal, a self-care gift basket, or something else, your team members will appreciate a surprise on their desks on their first day back. Consider supporting some local businesses or a few of your clients as you put together your welcome presents.
You Got This
The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in many changes for businesses of all sizes. It’s likely to change the way we live and work for years to come. While new safety rules may feel overwhelming, there’s plenty you can do to make your return to work a healthy and exciting experience. As you offer support for your staff, remind them — and yourself — that your team is smart, resilient, and ready to conquer all the challenges ahead.
BONUS COVID-19 TIP: Understanding The SBA PPP Loans For 2020:
Given the global economic state, SBA is now providing a special type of loan for businesses affected during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Yet as you may have read in the news, the SBA has experienced many irregularities in the system like granting loans to some businesses that aren’t necessarily “small businesses”. Also, SBA imperfections with funds of the PPP application process have left out many small businesses from getting access to this new loan. However, many online lenders with high-quality loans are now allowed to be direct lenders from the SBA and provide funding through PPP. Check out Money.com’s report on the best small business loans for 2020.
Guest Post Author Bio:
Lexie is a digital nomad and web designer. When she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her Goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.