What does an HR manager need to do on the pathway back into the office?

As employees gradually return to working from their offices, nothing will be the same as before. Small talk with a face mask? Sanitizing hands close to the coffee maker? There’s a lot more.

Firstly, though, human resources departments need to establish suitable methods to get staff into the workplace remotely.

A Possible Exit Scenario

1) Preparatory phase

In order to keep the risk of contamination as minimal as possible, sanitation steps must first be adopted.

That is to say:

Provision of sufficient sanitizer and mask materials

Ensure daily sanitation of chairs, light switches, door handles, etc.

Alternatives for public transit workers (e.g. bicycle and scooter leasing facilities, vehicle sharing)

Develop hygiene and social distance wash guidance

Reorganizing your office is also part of the preparatory stage.

How many people will work at any point in the office?

How many are allowed to be on each floor?

How do we coordinate the use of common areas such as conference rooms, breakrooms, toilets?

What rules apply for visitors?

Finally, it is necessary to schedule the actual return of workers to their workplaces.

Which departments or teams are going to come back first?

Will there be a turnaround, for example, on Mondays and Wednesdays, for one party of ten sales people and on Tuesdays and Thursdays for another?

Are there individual employees, e.g. in office management, who should return to the office right from the start?

2) Communication phase

The “home office exit plan” must be conveyed to workers until these concerns have been explained. It is crucial to share the roadmap for the return of workers to the workplace as easily and transparently as possible.

Who will return to the office when?

Who (at the beginning) is not allowed to come to the workplace (for example, staff on preconditions, employees older than 60 or pregnant workers)?

What are the laws and instructions on relational distance as people return to the office?

3) Return phase

The actual return of employees to their place of employment may be organized. The CIO of a German DAX-listed firm presented its internal policy in the 6th CIO symposium on the corona crisis as follows:

No more than 30 percent of workers return to their positions at the first step.

Four weeks later, more and more of their friends are steadily joining them, until half of their workers are back.

Another four weeks later, all the workers will hopefully be working from their workplaces again until additional federal regulations are implemented.

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