Return to Office: The 5 Key Spaces to Keep Clean and Safe

With some businesses getting ready to welcome back employees, it’s essential to prepare these workspaces — no matter how small — for maximum efficiency, and safety.

“Business leaders are challenged with navigating new territory,” says Marisa Harris, Director of Hybrid Working and Learning Solutions at Staples Canada. “While we know there is no roadmap for businesses, it presents a chance to pivot and come back stronger and better.”

The good news is that many Canadian employees want to start working in physical spaces again. A study conducted by KPMG found 63 percent of those surveyed said they want to return to the office with a hybrid model that allows flexibility to work remotely.

No matter what your reopening timeline might be, Staples Preferred makes it easy to save money on the workplace essentials you need to ensure a welcoming, clean and safe environment. We’ve identified five key office areas and how your business can reimagine them.

1. Reception and front lobby

Whether you’re welcoming visitors, interacting with employees, or accepting deliveries, the reception area provides an opportunity to make the right first impression — safe and secure.

Based on your current setup, consider signage for proper distancing, what protective equipment to put in place (think: shields and hand sanitizer at the front desk) and whether any furniture should be replaced with easy-to-clean alternatives. Additional considerations can include temperature checks and providing guests with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits that include disposable masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.

2. Desks

If your business chooses to keep individual desk setups, it’s important that these workspaces support physical distancing that will allow your team members to feel safe.

Consider solutions such as plexiglass barriers, and the right assortment of cleaning and sanitation products, including wipes and sprays.

3. Meeting spaces

Within the hybrid working model, collaborative spaces will become vital and it’s important to ensure that employees feel safe when connecting in person.

“The majority of business leaders recognize the benefits of a hybrid model and adopting a flexible framework for work has benefits for both the employer and employees,” says Harris. “Embracing a hybrid model results in challenging the purpose of the office.”

Consider the use of physical distancing markers, air purifiers, sanitizing stations for employee use, and enhanced video conferencing capabilities to minimize the number of people in the space.

4. Breakroom

The breakroom of yesterday is not the one of tomorrow, but at its core, it remains a space where employees can recharge and socialize. Even with a small number of employees, it’ll be important to ensure a safe experience by planning for physical distancing and adding sanitizing stations and hands-free receptacles, faucets and paper towel dispensers. Consider the use of protective film on high-touch surfaces and providing your employees with sustainable lunch kits to minimize the use of shared cutlery and plates.

5. Restrooms and wellness rooms

In this “new normal”, enhanced cleaning protocols will be of utmost importance in restrooms. Take an inventory of your current cleaners and disinfectants, determine what to keep, and stock up on deep cleaning and sanitation products that best suit your space.

Read more on how you can safely welcome back employees in our Return to Office Guide.

By Staples Canada

September 28, 2021

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