4 Steps to Creating a Healthy Hybrid Workplace

hybrid workplace for pandemic

One undeniable truth that we soon have to come to terms with is that the coronavirus will be staying a bit longer than expected and we’ll soon have to adapt accordingly. Although the number of cases may be dropping and we’re slowly starting to see some semblance of normality, that’s not to say that everything is under control. One way or the other, what we’re left to do for now is to shape our lives around the feat of this pandemic. 

There’s no denying how work and livelihood have been greatly affected by COVID-19. A lot of companies were forced to carry out remote working plans during the early stages of the pandemic. As 2022 approaches, slowly, businesses are gearing up for a return in the office setting, taking cautionary measures to hire the right professional cleaning service. However, the threat of newly-discovered COVID-19 variants still looms on the horizon. 

This is where the creation of a healthy hybrid workplace setup comes in. 

What is a hybrid workplace?

A hybrid workplace setup employs a shifting schedule where employees can spend some of their time working in the office and some other time working in a location of their choice other than the office. Hybrid workplace setups are proven to boost employee productivity and give people more autonomy over their work. 

Amidst the pandemic, a hybrid setup is an excellent option for most companies now, as it allows the management to control the volume of people coming and going into the building through planned and scheduled shifts. However, with this kind of setup, cleanliness becomes extremely critical. One may find that before the pandemic, companies are unknowingly utilizing useless cleaning products— something that’s not acceptable in today’s standard. In a hybrid workplace, since different people are exposed to the workplace, there should be a clear and strict evaluation of cleaning protocols and practices for everybody’s safety and sound mind. 

How to create a healthy hybrid workplace in 4 steps

If your office is getting ready to integrate the hybrid workplace setup, here are a few necessary steps to take to ensure the best working order for everyone. 

creating a safe and healthy hybrid office

Remodel floor plans

Before the pandemic, the sight of cramped office spaces, shared desks, and congested cubicles was a common scenario. Today, this setting becomes a challenge as it increases the risk of potential viral spread between people within the workplace. At this point, offices are encouraged to improve spacing and modify floor plans. Since not all employees will be present at the office all at the same time, there is no need to provide a desk for every employee there is. Instead, flex-desking is recommended which is basically a system where employees can simply book a desk for the day. This solution allows the company to make use of resources efficiently while keeping a solid social distancing measure.

If flex-desking is not an option, utilizing partitions such as plastic shielding or other physical barriers is still highly recommended to create divisions that would restrict particle or droplet exchange between individuals sharing the same space. 

Apart from providing partitions, foot traffic volume must also be monitored, allowing at least 6 feet of distance between people. 

Once floor plans have been modified, employees may experience difficulty in finding their way around the office. To make areas easily accessible, utilizing wayfinding tools such as interactive maps greatly helps. Desks, rooms, and other resources will be labeled according to availability, reducing friction as well as contact with other people. 

Secure sanitation spots

Proper hygiene has always been at the core of safety against the virus. Up to now, regular handwashing with soap and running water and using alcohol-based sanitizers are still highly advised by the CDC as the best prevention from acquiring the virus. In the hybrid workplace, it’s important to set up sanitation stations strategically: restrooms, near elevators, conference rooms, and kitchens. These areas get the most foot traffic volume, so setting up an effective sanitation system is integral in the success of an office’s hybrid workplace setting. 

Moreover, every area of the office should also be well-maintained by a commercial cleaning company. It’s not so hard to find a reliable provider of commercial cleaning services in Connecticut if you’re in need of one. 

Hiring janitorial services is also an option for daily cleaning and orderly tasks.

Consider cleaning frequency and intensity

Employees feel more confident about their safety when they see commercial cleaning and janitorial services working about the office in regular intervals, especially during the pandemic. This is revealed in a study by the Cleaning Coalition of America (CCA). 

While the volume of people coming and going in a hybrid workplace will be controlled, it is still imperative to impose strict and effective disinfecting protocols. Apart from daily surface cleaning, there may be a need for deep cleaning that only commercial cleaning services companies can provide. 

Inform employees about your plans

All of your plans to set up a healthy and effective hybrid workplace will be for naught if it isn’t communicated to your employees. Here’s what you can do.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to creating a hybrid workplace. With varying business nature and facility structure, each company is forced to come up with a design and system that works for them. Considerations must include mask policies, meeting arrangements, access to facility programs, and the number of people allowed in the office for a given period. 

Aside from creating a guideline for employees to follow within the office, make sure that your plans are being communicated clearly. Hold regular talks and training sessions about the importance of maintaining a clean personal space to the safety of the collective, and that group effort is the best way to keep the virus at bay. 

It may take a lot of work to adapt to a hybrid workplace setting. Granted, it’s an investment on another scale, and yes, time and effort will be needed as well. But, with the pandemic likely to stay for longer, the need to adjust around it remains. It’s not rocket science. Our collective resourcefulness and creativity can go the mile in times like these. Stay safe, folks!