Reopening Our Office: Best Practices during COVID-19

Systemscope reopened its physical office this week. As of September 14th, any staff member who wanted to transition back to working in the office, full or part time, had the option to. As we prepared and actually reopened, we identified three best practices that worked well for us: good communication with the team, clear signage and flexibility.

Good Communication with the Team

The soft reopening is part of Phase 2 of our Flexible Reopening Roadmap, whose principles, areas of focus and phases were guided by staff feedback and published guidance from Ottawa and Ontario Public Health.

Before we developed the roadmap, staff were invited to provide their input in a dedicated staff meeting, where they brought forward their questions, comments and concerns about returning to the office. Following the staff meeting, staff were given regular updates and encouraged to bring any new questions, comments and concerns while the materials were being developed.

The roadmap is accompanied by a package of protocols and signage, which were shared with the team a week before the reopening and presented at our last staff meeting, where team members were invited again to provide feedback.

The roadmap is accompanied by a package of protocols and signage, which were shared with the team a week before the reopening and presented at our last staff meeting, where team members were invited again to provide feedback.

A summary of our protocols is presented below:

  • Office is open Monday – Thursday, closed Friday.
  • Systemscope employees only.
  • Masks and social distancing at all times.
  • Hang coats up not touching each other.
  • Sanitize/wash your hands before entering shared spaces.
  • Sanitize surfaces and tools before leaving shared spaces.
  • Lysol wipes to use throughout the office at your discretion.
  • Occupancy limits for boardrooms.
  • Sit in marked spots and do not move chairs from where they have been placed in boardrooms.
  • Shower is closed.
  • No provided tea/coffee/snacks.
  • Bring your own dishes and take them home with you each day.
  • Printer/tech have special tech-safe alcohol sanitizing wipes.
  • Personal deliveries will not be accepted at the office.
  • Sanitize your workspace before leaving at the end of the day.
  • Take garbage with you when you leave.

Clear Signage

The reopening necessitated making physical adjustments to our workspace as well, including designing and posting signage, which outlines and reminds staff of the protocols throughout the office. We have also implemented room capacity limits and rearranged seating in our lounge, boardrooms and at our desks to ensure social distancing is maintained.

Flexibility

The biggest emphasis of our reopening is that it’s flexible. In these uncertain times, the likelihood that we will have to adapt and change our approach or shut down the office again is probably high. Our main goal is to recognize our teams’ different situations and comfort levels, and make sure that they feel safe and enabled to do their jobs effectively.

 


Mary Aksim is a consultant with a focus in information management and contract bid preparation. She started at Systemscope as a co-op student and transitioned to a full time consultant in 2018.


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