Reopening the Office: 10 Ways to Get Your Workplace Ready

The workplace as we once knew it has radically changed and as you anticipate welcoming staff back onsite, preparedness is key.

Ensure your business is prepared for in-person work and collaboration by following these tips.

1. Load up on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Each employee should have their own personal wipes, sanitizer, masks and gloves.

“These are the basic supplies they need to do their job now — think of it as having a stapler, or a notebook, and a pencil or pen,” says Chris Gassi, Facility Solutions Sales Manager at Staples Professional.

2. Redesign the office for physical distancing

Keeping a 6-foot/2-metre distance will still apply when returning to office. Protect staff by using social distancing decals and redesigning the space by moving workstations and reducing seating.

3. Clear the air with a pro-grade air purifier

“Air cleaning systems can help boost the cleanliness of indoor air, offering a healthier environment for people in enclosed spaces,” says Jeanette Simoes, Sr. Marketing Manager for Fellowes Canada.

When choosing an air purifier, look for a product that has superior filtration capabilities and a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) large enough for the size of room or area in which it will be used.

Simoes’ pick: “Commercial-grade AeraMax Pro air purifiers. They are designed for heavy-duty use in schools, offices, retail locations, bars, restaurants—any indoor space requiring purification,” she says, “They remove up to 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants like flu, viruses, bacteria, allergens, smoke and odors, using a unique four-stage filtration system involving HEPA filters.”

4. Restock office supplies so everyone has their own

Prevent the spread of germs by equipping your team with sufficient office supplies to ensure no one is sharing pens or making unnecessary trips into the supply room.

5. Stock up on deep cleaning and sanitation products

“Cleaning and disinfecting haven’t changed much, but what has changed is the frequency,” says Chris Robertson, Facility Solutions Sales Manager at Staples Professional. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning your facility once a day to maintain a healthy environment and increasing frequency on both cleaning and disinfecting in shared or high-traffic spaces.

As a result, your organization may go through supplies at a faster rate. The Staples Preferred program offers preferred pricing on products and services in-store and online, which can help you save money on cleaning and other workplace essentials.

Robertson’s pick: High-tech Victory Innovations electrostatic sprayers, which save time while thoroughly disinfecting spaces and surfaces.

6. Get office printers prepped with plenty of paper and toner

Keep staff productive with paper and toner at-the-ready. While supply chain issues aren’t reaching 2020 proportions, office products are in extremely high demand. Stock up now to avoid difficulties later.

7. Replenish mailroom essentials

The past year-and-a-half has highlighted just how essential packing and shipping can be to a business. With that in mind, you’ll want to restock shipping supplies such as bubble envelopes, labels, packing tape and corrugated boxes so sending out mail goes smoothly.

8. Keep workers happy with supportive tech set-ups

“Ergonomics is important as it prevents unnecessary pain or strain caused by musculoskeletal disorder from repetitive action,” says Renee Sang-Morris, a Product Marketing Manager at Fellowes Canada, who manages its Ergonomics category.

By providing supportive tech set-ups to employees, it can help prevent unnecessary strain on the neck, shoulders and eyes, and maintain productivity throughout the workweek. Plus, it sends employees a supportive and empathetic message in a time that can still be uncertain.

Sang-Morris’s picks: a supportive office chair, wrist/palm support, an ergonomic keyboard, monitor riser.

9. Reimagine the breakroom through a health and safety lens

Transform the breakroom to provide safety and peace of mind to your employees. Redesign your break room layout, reduce or eliminate seating to ensure social distancing recommendations are met; and install touch-free dispensers for soap, paper towels, sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Don’t forget to keep staff fueled with single-serve coffee pods and individually wrapped snacks.

10: Use signage to announce COVID safety procedures

Finally, greet staff with COVID-safety signage on every door (and more). Sign mandates vary by region and industry, so be sure to check provincial government requirements.

As a rule of thumb: “You want signage that's going to cover every facet of what you're trying to do. So that means directional signage telling people where to go and capacity signage so that social distancing measures are being observed,” says Gassi. Additionally, you will need signage for hand washing and cleaning, and sanitization-specific messaging in your washrooms and wherever you have dispensers.

Reimagining the workplace will be an ongoing process that will require agility and an open mind but just remember that each step taken will ultimately result in healthier, happier, and more productive employees.

Need help getting reopen-ready? Check out our Return To Office Guide — which includes a handy office-ready checklist — to learn more on how you can welcome employees back safely.

By Staples Canada

October 12, 2021