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June 24, 2020

As restrictions continue to lift from coronavirus, companies across the country are beginning to think about what a return to the office will look like. Understandably, leaders are faced with challenges as they think about approaches to re-opening office spaces and must proceed very slowly to ensure the health and safety of employees.

Before planning and implementing a safe and phased transition to get your team back to the office, we encourage you to ask yourself these three essential questions. Deep and careful reflection of these questions will help shape the plan that’s best for you and your organization.

How do my employees feel?

It’s essential to understand this before determining when and how to transition back to work. Determining where your employees’ sentiments on COVID-19, returning to work, productivity, and physiological health will help you to keep a pulse on how to go about integrating office life back into the ‘new’ normal.

Give your employees a series of surveys to gauge the overall sentiment. Are your employees comfortable returning to the office? What resource limitation and/or personal challenges are they having while working from home? Ask how you can support them upon return.

There are a ton of different surveys available to distribute to your team. Here’s a great survey example from SHRM.

Where does my business stand?

By now, you are aware of how your business has been impacted by COVID-19. You’ve  likely grown, maintained, or lost business due to the global pandemic. Handling your current situation is critical before moving forward with a back to work plan. Considering the long-term effects of the pandemic on your industry, business and market will determine how you should proceed.

Have you been forced to furlough or lay off people on your team?

Are the cost-cuttings measures you’ve implemented a short-term or long-term solution?

Are you offering compensation or added benefits to retain employees who have taken on extra responsibilities?

Can we sustain what we are currently doing for the next 3 months, 6 months, year?

Your answers to these questions are a good indication of whether the timing is right to begin thinking of a transition plan. It’s okay to keep on the same path if you need more time to see how your business will continue to be impacted.

Where do we go from here?

After you’ve assessed your current situation, give yourself and your team a plan and short-term benchmarks to keep on track.

If a new office set-up, new guidelines, new phased onsite schedule is needed, have a few goals set. Don’t be afraid to alter your plans and roll with the uncertainty that these times bring. Each day the situation evolves, and you may need to pivot in accordance, so be ready! Perhaps, the most critical piece of the plan is your contingency plan. If a second wave happens or a suspected case is found in your office, you will need to act quickly to keep employees safe.

Here are some more practical planning topics for the transition back:

  • Physical office setup
  • Arrival and departure times
  • Protocol with screening questions, temperature, mask use
  • Cleaning regimen
  • Shared workspace use

Remember to overly communicate with your team during this time and maintain proper social distancing guidelines at the office when you finally implement your back to work transition.

Accountants One is here to answer any of your questions regarding identifying, hiring and retaining top talent for your organization.

If you have had to lay off permanent employees, but still need work done in your Accounting or Finance department, we have contractors available immediately. Using contractors in this market gives companies greater flexibility and cost-savings for the same workload. Please call us at 770-395-6969 with any questions.