Employees Want to Return to the Office

ARE YOU READY?

Whether employees miss collaborating with co-workers, engaging in small talk around the water cooler, or munching on snacks in the break room, many people would like to return to in-person work environments. In fact, the Protecting the Workplace study conducted by Envoy (a workplace technology company), found that although employees are still concerned about safety, 90% say they do miss the workplace, especially friends and teammates. Additionally:

  • More than 94% want to spend at least one day a week in the office, 46% said the ideal number of days in the office is five days a week, while the other half said a hybrid model with an average number of 3.3 days in the office was preferred.
  • We love our families, but many crave space away from children (19%) and spouses or partners (21%).

It seems, despite reports to the contrary, the office is not dead. That’s the good news.

The not-so-good news is that according to a study conducted by The Cleaning Coalition of America (CAA), 73% of Americans are worried that returning to the workplace could pose a risk to their personal health – and 75% said they would consider quitting their job if they felt their employers’ actions to prevent COVID-19 were inadequate! In fact, a recent study found that a majority of employees fear their companies won’t adequately protect their health.

“The data tells us that employees do want to return to the workplace, but they want to come back to one that takes better care of them and puts their health and safety at the forefront,” said Larry Gadea, founder and CEO of Envoy, a workplace technology company.1

With over half (56%) of the U.S. population vaccinated (per the CDC) you can almost hear the collective sigh of relief by those who have been feeling isolated and ready to get back to in-person work environments.

Of course, there are still plenty of folks who would like to continue to work from home or work in some type of hybrid arrangement. And, for those returning to offices and other facilities, things may never be quite the same.

 

YOU NEED A PLAN

Welcoming employees back is not as simple as unlocking the doors and dusting off the desks. It’s up to employers to address the concerns of employees and make safety a top priority. While there is no “one size fits all” plan for preparing a facility, the Building Service Contractors Association offers a list of general guidelines based on CDC recommendations:

  • Work with building managers to implement screening procedures in lobbies.
  • Create safe distancing between work areas and meeting spaces.
  • Make hand washing stations with soap and water easy to access and make hand sanitizer readily available or install hand sanitization stations in high-traffic areas.
  • Where possible, install “touchless” entries/exits, faucets, light switches and garbage cans.
  • When no people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases are known to have been in a space, thorough cleaning once a day is usually sufficient. However, you may want to clean more frequently or disinfect in addition to cleaning if the space is in a high traffic area or there is a high transmission of COVID-19 in your community.
  • Disinfect using the EPA’s List N disinfectants which are effective against COVID-19.
  • Determine what needs to be cleaned and how often. Consider the type of surface and how often the surface is touched. Prioritize cleaning high-touch surfaces at least once a day. Examples of high-touch surfaces include pens, counters, tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, stair rails, elevator buttons, desks, keyboards, phones, toilets, faucets and sinks.
  • Make sure your cleaning service has trained their staff on the proper use of cleaning and disinfecting products.
  • Consider putting wipeable covers on electronics, which makes cleaning and disinfecting easier.
  • If there has been a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in your facility, you should close off areas used by the person (if possible), wait several hours and then clean and disinfect those areas. If possible, open doors and windows or use fans to increase air circulation while cleaning and disinfecting.

To alleviate concerns, they recommend allowing employees to see onsite cleaning crews and clearly communicate updated protocols through signage, memos, and regular updates. The CCA also suggests developing a contamination response plan in conjunction with trained cleaning professionals.

 

NEED SOME HELP?

If these enhanced cleaning protocols sound overwhelming, why not let the experts deal with the details? Professional cleaning companies like New Image Building Services are trained and equipped to handle the new cleaning and disinfecting protocols. We can help you develop a comprehensive plan and implement that plan successfully.

As offices and other facilities reopen, much of a company’s success will depend on how well they plan, how quickly they put that plan in place and how well they adhere to protocols. As much as a return to “normalcy” will be celebrated by many, it will be up to employers to ease fears, demonstrate steps being taken to protect employees and keep the doors open.

Make sure your employees feel “adequately protected” with our expertise. Call us today at (248) 602-7510.

 

1 https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201014005131/en/New-Study-Finds-73-of-Employees-Fear-Return-to-Workplace-Will-Compromise-Personal-Health-Safety