How to… Get your office ready for the return


In this article: Companies are slowly bringing staff back to their offices, and the IMI is one of them. If you’re getting your premises ready for the return here are some tips from the Institute’s Head of HR and Business Support, Sally-Anne Hodder

We’ve all heard the ‘new normal’ term used, and while we may not know exactly what it means for day to day life, it’s something that we’ve been thinking about a lot at the IMI.

Like many businesses we’re preparing for the return of staff to our offices, and while not everyone will be coming back straight away, for those that do this will perhaps be one of the first daily experiences of what that new normal is.

We aren’t alone, many of you will be going through the same experiences and getting your premises ready for staff to return. It’s not a simple process, but here are some of the measures we’ve put in place to make sure people return to a safe workplace.

1. Arriving and leaving the office

When staff begin heading back to the office arrival times will be staggered and confirmed in writing, and for those travelling by car, parking spaces will be blocked to leave minimum of 2 metres distance between vehicles.

On arrival signs will direct all arrivals to the staff canteen area to sanitize hands and collect any PPE if needed, before going to work station. And when the working day is finished PPE will be placed in provided bins.

2. Moving through the premises

There will be a signed one-way system to direct safe movement throughout the building and staff will need to adhere to the 2 metre distance markings on the floors in all occupied offices and open communal areas.

3. Work stations

Occupied desks will be at least 2 metres apart and positioned either back-to-back or side-to side (not face-to-face).

Individuals are responsible for work station hygiene and for any other personal office equipment which should be regularly wiped down and as a minimum on arrival and late afternoon. Anti-viral wipes or cleaning products will be provided in each occupied office.

Hot desking is a thing of the past. Individuals will have to remain at their allocated desk.

4. Common areas

Arguably the most difficult area for returning staff will be the restrictions on the social aspect of an office.

Unfortunately, we’re restricting common areas to only those that need to be used as part of one-way movement system: corridors, stairs, and reception for example, with all other common areas closed.

Lunch breaks will be staggered. Packed lunches should be brought in and stored at desks in a cooler bag for example.

And while lunch may be eaten in allocated areas, this will depend on space availability and there will be restriction on numbers.  If there is no available space, eating will have to be at your desk and if the weather permits outside areas will be available.

5. Cleaning

Common area surfaces will be regularly disinfected throughout the day, including doors and door handles, taps and toilet flushes, stair rails, water dispenser and immediate area and the coffee machine.

For the latest information, advice and support please visit the IMI’s dedicated COVID-19 pages.