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Checklist for returning back to the office

July 21, 2021

The transition back to the office after the COVID-19 quarantine will not be a return to business as usual. It will require an approach that addresses the changes in our habits and behavior, as well as in-company spaces and procedures. The process will look different for each company and its particular workplace culture, objectives, and work styles.

This post-COVID workplace checklist is designed to ensure you consider various aspects of your work environment.

After spending more than a year building remote work environments, you may have questions about what you’ll need to change to successfully head back to work in an office or hybrid setting. The great news is that most of your remote work practices and training will carry over. Digital collaboration and remote teams are here to stay, with 83% of employers stating the shift to remote work has been a success.

However, a hybrid work dynamic and lingering concerns over the pandemic will bring new challenges that work environments will have to adapt to in order to succeed. In the first few weeks, you’ll need to consider how to maintain a comprehensive plan for workplace safety, shape employee experience to fit a new age of hybrid collaboration, and refit your organization to provide your teams with the tools they need to do their best work.

Assess readiness and determine the criteria and timing for re-entry

□ Pulse your team and establish a feedback channel to sound out any potential concerns and employees’ willingness to return.
□ Determine what technology and tools will be necessary to support team collaboration, testing, and cleaning.
□ Make a checklist of the steps required to reopen.

Prepare your team

□ Give people the autonomy to choose whether they’re ready to come back.
□ Develop guidelines to evaluate who is fully ready to physically return to the office, depending on each individual’s health and quarantine history.
□ Determine how to phase in the return. Which functions and roles should be the first to come back to the office and re-enter the workspace?

Review human resources procedures, policies, and benefits and set up:

□ Flexible work policy, given the new expectations.
□ Travel guidance and restrictions, PTO, or sick leave.
□ Workforce flexibility in the case of family illness (if further quarantine is called for) and for those who have child care and eldercare responsibilities.
□ Additional benefits needed to address limitations that have emerged during the crisis.

Support remote work

□ Design a virtual workplace technology ecosystem that facilitates productive remote work.
□ Implement teaming best practices to collaborate effectively
□ Provide learning opportunities on how to effectively lead and manage remote teams, communicating effectively, collaborating with teams, etc.

Review workforce impact and long-term planning needs

□ Conduct workforce planning and model multiple workforce scenarios.
□ Reevaluate real estate, facilities, and/or construction investments.
□ Identify opportunities to restructure workplaces for efficiencies.

Print out this checklist and prepare yourselves for getting back to the office of the future:

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