How to Re-Enter the Workplace Safely in the Era of COVID-19

After over six months of working from home, a lot of offices are partially re-opening to start welcoming employees back to the workplace. Although work-from-home hours are extending, many employers are trickling staff back into the office at limited capacity or rotating shifts. If you plan to reopen your office for in-person work, you want to ensure you have all the tools, equipment, and procedures in place to make the transition safe and healthy for everyone. 

For the next few years (at least), the workplace is going to look different than what we’re used to. There will be smaller workforces, scheduled shifts (even for non-shift workers), in-office and WFH hybrids, temperature checks, fewer open-floor layouts, more flexible leave policies, and lots and lots of hand washing/sanitizing. Making strides to update your office health strategies now will ensure your team feels comfortable coming back into the office when the time is right.  

In this guide, we’ll give you the top 10 things you’ll need to re-introduce your employees back into the workplace safely and effectively. 

  1. Welcome back PPE kit
  2. Infrared thermometers
  3. Hand sanitizers and automatic dispensers
  4. Personal hand sanitizers
  5. Alcohol and disinfecting wipes
  6. Disposable masks
  7. Glass desk dividers
  8. Tissues
  9. Health and safety training
  10. Updated sick leave policies 

1. Welcome back PPE kit 

A lot of employees are nervous about the transition back to the workplace. They could be concerned for their own safety or the health of loved ones, or they’ve just gotten used to the security of working from their couch. Still, we all know that—while WFH can be fun—productivity and workplace happiness are enhanced in a physical office setting. 

After over six months of working from home, a lot of offices are partially re-opening to start welcoming employees back to the workplace. Although work-from-home hours are extending, many employers are trickling staff back into the office at limited capacity or rotating shifts. If you plan to reopen your office for in-person work, you want to ensure you have all the tools, equipment, and procedures in place to make the transition safe and healthy for everyone. 

We love the idea of having a “welcome back” basket on the worker’s first day back to the office to show how you prioritize your employees’ wellbeing. This should include a PPE kit to demonstrate that you care about their health and safety first and foremost. You’ll want to include a reusable cloth mask, alcohol wipes, gloves, and personal hand sanitizer. You can find a corporate PPE kit here, which you can divide up for the baskets and save a bunch of money. Need a bigger size? We also offer an enterprise PPE kit for welcome back baskets as well as stocking your business up with the essentials. 

Some other cool gift ideas to put in their welcome back gift basket:

  • Personalized reusable water bottles (to minimize the use of shared drinking fountains that harbor a lot of germs)
  • A desk plant (since theirs probably died in March during the unexpected lockdown)
  • Hand lotion (all that hand washing can dry out hands)
  • Thank you letter from the CEO (to appreciate and value the employees)
  • Invitation to a Zoom happy hour (to show that the team environment doesn’t stop, just because of a pandemic)

Psst… Want to go the extra mile? Put their names on their reusable water bottles, so they never get lost and people don’t accidentally share bottles. Opt for a BPA-free bottle or a stainless-steel option to keep your employees safe and healthy. 

If you can handle the welcome-back response like a pro, your employees will actually be excited to get back to work. They’ll also be more receptive to any health strategies and changes you introduce to adjust to the pandemic.

2. Infrared thermometers at reception 

A lot of companies are making the smart decision to do temperature checks in the lobby area or employee check-in desk upon arrival. This ensures no one with a fever can enter the building and potentially get anyone else sick. 

Infrared thermometers are the preferred way to take temperatures in high-traffic areas because they’re fast, contactless, and highly intelligent. Our FDA and CE-certified thermometers are accurate within 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which means you can feel confident about the people who come to your building. These thermometers also take a reading in seconds, so you don’t have a line of employees waiting to get in the door. Plus, they’re contactless, which means no spreading germs. Simple, easy, and gets the job done, so people can get back to work.

3. Hand sanitizers and automatic dispensers 

After over six months of working from home, a lot of offices are partially re-opening to start welcoming employees back to the workplace. Although work-from-home hours are extending, many employers are trickling staff back into the office at limited capacity or rotating shifts. If you plan to reopen your office for in-person work, you want to ensure you have all the tools, equipment, and procedures in place to make the transition safe and healthy for everyone. 

Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers are a must -have to offer easy, no-touch ways to sanitize hands. Washing hands with soap and water is typically the best choice, but it’s not always an option—so hand sanitizer dispensers are the next best thing. Hand sanitizer stations, especially in high traffic areas, are proven to stop the spread of germs and lead to a healthier work environment. 

A motion-detection automatic dispenser works best because it is touch-free, so no spreading germs when trying to get clean. Plus, ours is powered by batteries, so it requires no wiring or outlet (and it has a low battery indicator.) With a 23.7oz capacity, your staff won’t have to worry about constantly refilling dispensers in highly trafficked areas.  

When searching for a hand sanitizer to fill the dispenser, look for at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol to kill harmful bacteria, according to the CDC. We offer a one-gallon alcohol sanitizing gel, so this is a great refill for automatic dispensers for weeks or even months. We don’t put a cap on how many you can buy, so you can stock up and save. Your building’s budget will thank you. 

4. Personal hand sanitizers for desk 

Most of your employees will probably bring their own hand sanitizer from home, but with PPE hard to come by, they’ll definitely appreciate your managers going the extra mile to supply them with a desktop hand sanitizer. If your employees have a hand sanitizer sitting on their desk within reach, they’re more likely to use it—which means a lower risk of employees getting sick.

We recommend our 15.2oz alcohol hand sanitizer, which has a squeeze top for low-contact distribution. It contains 80% alcohol, which exceeds the CDC standards for killing viruses and bacteria like COVID-19. Just a bottle of alcohol hand sanitizer can give your employees control over their health and the peace of mind necessary to do their work effectively.  

5. Alcohol and disinfecting wipes

After over six months of working from home, a lot of offices are partially re-opening to start welcoming employees back to the workplace. Although work-from-home hours are extending, many employers are trickling staff back into the office at limited capacity or rotating shifts. If you plan to reopen your office for in-person work, you want to ensure you have all the tools, equipment, and procedures in place to make the transition safe and healthy for everyone. 

Like personal hand sanitizer, employees want to be able to wipe down their desks or computers if they feel they’ve been exposed to germs. Giving employees access to alcohol wipes encourages them to sanitize their workspaces frequently, which minimizes the spread of germs while making the janitorial staff’s job easier. 

WeProtect’s alcohol wipes contain 75% alcohol, so they’re effective in killing harmful bacteria and viruses on surfaces—including COVID-19 and flus. Best yet? There’s no limit on how many packs of 60 wipes you can order—so you never have to worry about running out. With it so hard to get your hands on disinfecting wipes, it’s time to stock up on these alcohol wipes for cold and flu season hits. 

6. Disposable masks 

People are going to forget their masks. People forget their keys, and they’ve been carrying their keys on them for years! Masks are a new thing, so they’re bound to forget once in a while. Rather than losing precious productive hours sending them home to get a mask, have some disposable masks on hand. Masks are quickly becoming as essential and commonplace as toilet paper (which is finally coming back in stock, thankfully), so it never hurts to stock up. 

There are two options of disposable masks that work for safe, effective protection:

  • KN95 masks are highly efficient respirators and sure to keep your employees safe. Our KN95 masks are CE- and FDA-certified to filter at least 95% of 0.3 micron particles. It’s odorless, nonirritating, non-allergenic, and non-woven fabric, so you’re getting the best possible filtering mask at a super reasonable price. 
  • 3-Ply surgical masks reduce exposure to saliva and germ particles with a protective outer layer, filter paper mid layer, and comfortable and skin-friendly internal layer. These masks are made for protection with stretchy ear loops made to fit and medical grade melt-blown cloth. They’re an inexpensive yet super effective option for disposable masks.

7. Glass desk dividers 

Plexiglass desk dividers and sneeze guards at reception and security desks are useful to help prevent germs and droplets from passing from person to person. The people who work at these desks, like receptionists, will be thankful that they don’t need to come in close contact with everyone who comes in the front door. These are also useful for shared working spaces, like conference rooms. This is an extra step that will help your office feel open while minimizing the spread of bacteria and germs. 

8. Tissues

Tissues are an often-overlooked PPE. Someone might think they just have allergies when they have a cold or flu, so they don’t take the necessary precautions. But even just sneezing or coughing into a tissue, as opposed to their arm or hand, can dramatically reduce the spread of germs in the office. 

Give everyone a desktop pack of tissues and have extra stock available in the supply closet. When colder weather starts coming, your employees (and productivity numbers) will definitely thank you for this small gesture with a huge impact. 

9. Health and safety training 

Your employees probably already know that they should sing “happy birthday” when they’re washing their hands. But there are other types of health and safety training you can offer to ensure your employees stay compliant while prioritizing wellness. For example, OSHA training can teach them to spot common symptoms to look out for as well as how to use PPE most effectively and comfortably. 

After over six months of working from home, a lot of offices are partially re-opening to start welcoming employees back to the workplace. Although work-from-home hours are extending, many employers are trickling staff back into the office at limited capacity or rotating shifts. If you plan to reopen your office for in-person work, you want to ensure you have all the tools, equipment, and procedures in place to make the transition safe and healthy for everyone. 

It’s about more than just teaching folks not to spread germs, though. You want to use this opportunity to explain to your employees why these new health strategies are in place, and what your organization is doing to prioritize their safety. The more you demonstrate your company’s care for the staff, the happier and more motivated your employees will be to come back to the office to work hard for the organization and its customers. 

10. Updated sick leave policies

Companies are hurrying to figure out what flexible work schedules are going to look like moving forward. Balancing remote work and scheduled in-office shifts is just the beginning. If someone comes down with COVID-19, employers definitely don’t want them even thinking about coming in to work. But with a minimum of two weeks isolation, that’s a lot of sick days people have to take. We recommend companies re-evaluate what sick leave looks like during these times of crisis to ensure you strongly discourage anyone from coming into the office while prioritizing the safety and wellness of your people first and foremost.  

PPE to get back in the office

Welcome your employees back to the office by offering them the highest quality protection strategies and equipment. Check out our PPE bundle kits to get everything you need to bring those first workers back into the workspace safely.  

Check out all the recommended We Protect PPE here:

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