WORKPLACE 2.0 | Spark Search



We are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel as the “Shelter in Place” orders are being relaxed and businesses are starting to reopen. A couple of months ago, when in a 24-hour period all businesses had to turn a dime and move their entire workforce to work remotely, nobody would have foreseen what is needed today to reopen a business.

In just over 70 days, the workplace we knew has completely morphed with new rules, guidelines and laws passed to protect employers, employees, and the community.

Are you ready for it?

Information overload is increasing by the day, and you, as employers need to consider the guidelines and regulations and decide how you will prepare to reset and restart. Your main objective will be to slow the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace.  Here are some of the main points to consider when preparing to reopen:

  1. Create a timeline

    • Just because you can reopen the office, does not mean you have to! Decide why you would reopen and when.
    • Prepare a phased approach and consider who needs to be in the office and who can work remotely.

  2. Workplace Safety and Prevention Strategies

    • Are you planning to screen all employees and visitors that enter your premises?
    • Will employees be allowed to self-report their well-being on a daily basis or are you planning to assign staff to perform checks?
    • Will the tester be a staff-member or an independent resource?
    • What PPE will you be providing? The bare minimum is sanitizer and face masks. These must comply to OSHA guidelines.
    • Will staff be allowed to use their own PPE or will they need to use those provided by you?
    • Will staff be required to wear masks when they are at their desks, assuming 6ft physical distancing from another person?
    • What are your plans for communal areas? (kitchen, conference rooms, lobby, elevators, etc.)
    • What sanitization measures are you putting in place? Remember that frequently touched areas will need increased sanitization.
    • What will social distancing look like for you? Cubicles/ workstations at least 6ft apart, corridors leading to these must also comply to the 6 ft rule, one-way system around the office to control traffic, staggered shifts/breaks, as well as staggered in-office work schedules, etc.
    • Is your HVAC and air filtration system compliant with the mandated guidelines?

  3. Testing and Screening

    • Decide if you test, which test you will be using:
      • Temperature checks to enter the workplace
      • Daily wellness checks and symptom surveys (incl. travel questions, symptoms, exposure, medical conditions, etc.)
      • Nasal or mouth swab to detect is employee currently has COVID-19
      • Antibody test (currently not very reliable)
    • If you do decide to test:
      • Who conducts the test?
      • Where are employees/contractors/visitors tested?
      • How often do you test?
      • How will you handle the results?
    • Remember that all collected health information is to be documented and treated confidentially.
    • As and when a vaccine is developed, do you plan to provide that to your employees?

  4. COVI-19 Preparedness Plan

    • What is your policy if an employee/contractor/visitor tests positive for COVID-19?
    • Who and how will you communicate with people who may have been exposed?
    • What is your plan if a group of employees get infected simultaneously and cannot work?
    • Are you planning to provide cross-training so that other employees can continue working on projects?
    • What will be their return to work requirements?
    • What are your workplace flexibilities and benefits (FFCRA, FMLA, ADA) for employees affected by COVID-19?

  5. Communication of Workplace 2.0 plans

    • Once you have your plans, policies, procedures and protocols in place, you’ll need to then clearly communicate them to your employees, contractors and clients.
    • Determine company policies and procedures responding to staff who decide they aren’t willing to return to the office.
    • Be prepared to listen to employees’/contractors’/clients’ concerns and either reassure them that you have handled their concerns or make changes to your procedures.
    • It is important that you manage your employees’ expectations for when they return to the office. You are all on the same team!

  6. Office Management

    • Plan to train your staff and create policies and guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus.
    • Contact tracing: keep a log of visitor/employees coming into your offices.
    • Post reminders around the office for all your employees with the measures you are implementing in your workplace (Workplace Tips for Employees, Customizable Workplace flyer)
    • Make sure that your communication complies with State specific requirements and with OSHA, CDC and EEOC regulations and guidelines

Need Help?

If you are not sure where or how to start, we are here to help you. Spark works with AE firms to help them strategize and plan for the future. We understand your business and have a good perspective of what works and what doesn’t.

We work with you to provide the information and action plan so that you can focus on running your business. Let’s schedule a 30-minute call so we can discuss how we can help you start planning!