Considerations for Reopening Offices
Before Reopening an Office
Before an office is reopened, the employer should know if the business is aligned with local and state regulations on the resumption of operations during the pandemic. Once the employer is sure that the office can operate, the following should be looked into.
- Develop a preparedness, response, and control plan that will help you accomplish the following:
- Conduct a risk assessment and identify areas and job tasks that expose employees to COVID-19.
- Determine which employees are most vulnerable to COVID-19.
- Be aware of factors outside the workplace that puts employees at risk such as the type of transportation going to work.
- Put control measures in place that minimizes or eliminates risks for employees. Control measures can be administrative such as implementing staggered break schedules that helps minimize crowding in common areas.
- Inform employees of steps that the business is taking to mitigate COVID-19 in the workplace. Steps can include frequent and proper hand hygiene, staying at home when sick, wearing masks or other applicable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and health screenings.
- Educate employees on how COVID-19 can be transmitted and how to prevent its spread inside and outside of the office.
- Offices that are recently shut down need to consider the reported risk of Legionnaires’ disease. Other facilities that were not in use for some time but are reopening should consider taking steps to mitigate this health risk.
Upon Reopening an Office
Implement the steps communicated to the employees and apply the following to encourage compliance with policies in the office.
- Use signs to remind proper hand hygiene.
- Use visible tape marks on the floor or other visual cues that remind employees of 6 feet distance between each other where physical barriers are not possible.
- Provide training on respiratory etiquette and remind employees to be considerate with coworkers in this pandemic.
- Implement non-punitive policies on leave should an employee get sick and need to stay at home. If ideal, consider work from home arrangements to help maintain employee productivity.
- Inform the employees of the scheduled cleaning in the office. Ensure that the cleaning staff is wearing PPE while using EPA-approved cleaning agents when cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces in particular.
- Conduct internal monitoring to encourage compliance with office policies.
Implementing Changes in the Office
Businesses adapted and resumed normal operations in offices while handling health risks brought by the pandemic. Monitoring if changes are properly implemented and adhered to in the office can help keep the workplace safe from COVID-19, this includes complying with regulations that may require businesses to temporarily close again because of the pandemic. Using new monitoring checklists created specifically for the workplace can help employers and facility managers maintain safe and productive offices. Feel free to review and download the free checklists that were created to help with reopening your offices.
Please note that these checklists, while created with the latest best practices in mind, provide basic information only and are not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should also seek your own professional advice to determine if the use of such checklists are permissible in your workplace or jurisdiction.
Office Reopening Checklists
Office Inspection Checklist (COVID-19)
This office inspection checklist provides an overview of what to check in the office with consideration to precautions against COVID-19 infection.
Employee Temperature Checklist (COVID-19)
Building and facility security teams can use this employee temperature checklist to screen all employees who are reporting the office. The intent is to control the potential spread of COVID-19 in the workplace by screening for signs of respiratory illness accompanied by fever.
Employee Temperature Log Sheet
Use this employee temperature log sheet to keep as many temperature records as needed whenever employees report to the office. This temperature log sheet recognizes 100.3° F as the threshold and prompts a visual cue for 100.4° F and above temperature readings.
Home Office Self Assessment Checklist (COVID-19)
This checklist can help employees who are working at home or have a home office setup ensure an ergonomic work space that is conducive to working from home. This checklist also takes in consideration the health and hygiene of the employee who is working from home.
Legionella Risk Assessment Checklist
Use this Legionella risk assessment form to assess offices that were temporarily shut down. Record cold and hot water temperatures and check if they are maintained properly. Check if the HVAC and water systems are clean and disinfected.