Although the pandemic isn’t over, all 50 states have begun the reopening process to some degree, and that means some workers are returning to the office after months of doing their jobs from home. Many people remain wary of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and want to stay away from public spaces: Last month, Gallup reported that approximately 25 percent of employed Americans would rather continue working from home, even as businesses and schools reopen, because of coronavirus-related concerns. Roughly another 50 percent express a preference to keep working from home because they prefer to do so.
Still, about a quarter of remote workers want to go back to their former workplaces as they reopen, according to Gallup. If your company has chosen to accommodate team members who wish to return to the office, it’s important to put plenty of thought into how you’re going to bring people back in while ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved. Business leaders should follow official guidelines, such as those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In addition to implementing safeguards like signs reminding employees to wash their hands and physical barriers between workstations, organizations transitioning back to on-site work arrangements should re-evaluate their approach to IT. Here are just a few aspects of IT strategy you should keep in mind before you begin bringing staff members back into the office.
1. Is all your equipment up-to-date and ready to go?
If your office space has been deserted for a while, your staff members’ PCs and any other tech infrastructure that’s been powered down for quarantine needs to get turned back on and updated. Ensure everything’s running the latest software and has current cybersecurity solutions (e.g., anti-virus programs) installed.
2. Do you have the right solutions in place to keep on- and off-site workers connected?
To comply with physical distancing recommendations, some companies are only bringing in a fraction of their staff at a time, while the rest work remote. If that’s the case for your organization, it’s vital to give your team the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively with each other from different locations. Cloud solutions like Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platforms have become popular with our clients looking for work-from-anywhere features.
3. Could your company benefit from thermal monitoring technologies?
The CDC recommends that businesses “develop and implement procedures to check for signs and symptoms of employees daily upon arrival, as feasible.” One way to detect symptoms is to leverage thermal detection solutions that can sound the alarm if someone has a fever, according to the CIO article “Thermal Detection Monitoring in the Age of COVID-19.” Some examples of these products include cameras similar to security cameras that are capable of thermal monitoring, or metal detectors with temperature-reading cameras built in.
4. Do you know the proper procedures for sanitizing any shared equipment?
For example, if you have a workstation with a computer and keyword used by more than one employee on a regular basis, you should plan to sanitize it as much as possible to prevent the potential spread of any germs. The CDC has issued cleaning guidelines that recommend following manufacturers’ instructions and using covers you can wipe down between uses for electronic items like tablets and keyboards.
5. Has your business plan changed because of the pandemic?
Many companies have had to re-think their objectives and strategies in light of the ways COVID-19 has altered our lives. If that’s the case for your organization, it’s also a good idea to re-evaluate your IT road map and adjust it accordingly, so it supports your new plans. For instance, many enterprises (59 percent) expect their cloud usage to go beyond what they previously expected as a result of the public health crisis, according to the Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report.
Ultimately, carefully considering your IT strategy for returning to the workplace is essential for the health, well-being and success of everyone who’s part of your organization. If you’d like to learn more about how to safely and effectively adapt your IT to a world permanently changed by COVID-19, our trusted technology advisors would be happy to assist you. Get in touch with us today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.