According to CDC vaccine information and USA Today, the United States is projected to be 75% vaccinated by July 2021. With this steady increase in vaccinations, many offices will most likely begin re-opening their doors to employees, begging the question: Is your office CDC-compliant?
While some safety precautions will be the landlord’s obligation, others, like socially distanced workstations and modified interior common areas, depend on the tenant.
When it comes time to rearrange your office space, consider the hierarchy of controls. This hierarchy is used as a means of determining how to implement affordable and effective protective solutions. In order from most effective to least effective, the hierarchy includes:
- Elimination. Physically removing the hazard
- Substitution. Replacing the hazard.
- Engineering Controls. Isolating people from the hazard.
- Administrative Controls. Changing the way people work.
- PPE. Protecting the worker with personal protective equipment.
Continue reading for steps you can take to prepare your office for a safe return.
Take These 7 Steps to Rearrange Your Office
As more and more employees return to work, it is important that the offices within your real estate portfolio meet CDC guidelines, and ultimately, ensure the health and safety of your team members.
- Speak with your landlord. Discuss building-wide safety precautions, like air filter replacements and HVAC system enhancements.
- Modify workstations to maintain social distancing. If space allows, separate desks so that all employees are at least six feet apart from one another. If there isn’t enough space, consider installing shields or barriers between employees.
- Identify and rearrange work and common areas where employees could have close contact with others. Meeting rooms, break rooms, kitchens, and lobbies may all need to be rearranged to accommodate extra space between individuals. If extra space isn’t possible, consider enforcing an occupancy limit for those areas.
- Remove high-touch shared items. Get rid of your office coffee pots and snacks, and instead encourage employees to bring their own.
- Increase airflow throughout the office. Open windows during the workday, if possible, or bring in portable air purifiers to place around the office.
- Keep the cleaning supplies stocked. Once your office is rearranged, ensure that disinfecting supplies are readily available and easily accessible for all employees.
- Ask your employees. As you start to make these office adjustments, it’s a great idea to also get your employees’ input. Here are a few must-have features we expect many employees will want upon returning to work.
Keep your employees healthy and your real estate portfolio safe from legal ramifications by following these steps to rearranging your office space in alignment with CDC guidelines.
Ready to prepare your office for a safe return?
As your employees prepare to return to work, make sure to develop a sound plan to safely welcome them back and instill confidence. Speak with your landlord about building-wide safety precautions, reach out to your employees to understand their expectations and rearrange your space in alignment with CDC guidelines.
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