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Return to Office Tips

May 26, 2021

As vaccination rates go up and states begin to lift restrictions, many offices are looking to open once again. Aside from following your local health department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, here are a few things to consider in preparing for a return to the office.

Talk to your team and consider flexibility

Assess their comfort level, talk to managers, or consider an anonymous survey for employees to share their concerns and interest in returning to the office. A recent survey of insurance agency employees found nearly two-thirds of employees prefer a blend of in-office and work from home.1 For retention and attracting new talent, consider how you may offer flexibility.

Work through logistics

Establish social distancing and cleanliness requirements and consider:
• Scheduling around different start/end times or days in the office
• Your office floor plan and how workstations may need to shift
• What you’ll provide – masks, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, thermometers
• How will cleaning protocols change – communicate what employees are expected to do

Establish and communicate policies

Make sure associates understand how they’ll need to work differently.
• Share the rules for mask-wearing while in the office
• Designate protocols for communal spaces like kitchens, breakrooms and bathrooms
• Talk through in-person meeting etiquette – from seating arrangements to masks
• Define customer/visitor policies
• Communicate the process for completing a health check before coming to the office and what employees should do if they have any symptoms
• Have a plan established for reporting a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure and response communications prepared for any affected employees and customers

Consider sharing policies several different ways – email, training sessions and signage throughout the office.

Be patient

Understand that employees have been through a lot over the course of the pandemic and everyone will have different comfort levels. This is a transitional time and employees may need to work at different speeds when it comes to returning to some of our pre-pandemic ways. Consider how you may continue to offer flexibility and programs to support mental health.

Return to office plans will look different for all agencies, and some of these changes may even be long-term. Set time to continually evaluate policies, check in with CDC and health department recommendations and gauge how employees are feeling.