Handwriting text Top Tips. Concept meaning small but particularly useful piece of practical advice Close up three wooden different sizes rectangle boxes paper sheet pencil.

Facilities across the country are experiencing significant setbacks when it comes to full-scale reopening for employees due to the recent rise in COVID-19 case rates — notably with the Omicron variant and its transmission being easier than previous strains. Even businesses that had implemented some degree of returning to the office full-time have either scaled back on requirements, or suspended them altogether as they craft together new guidelines to ensure occupant safety. 

Between the uncertainty of the Omicron variant as data continues to be collected on its impact, to varying opinions on the severity of the virus and vaccination statuses, it’s not an enviable position for facility managers crafting protocols and guidelines to be in at the moment.  With that being said, Inc. crafted three applicable tips that cleaning managers, distributors or building service contractors (BSCs) can either enact or pass along to simplify the re-opening process in a responsible way. 

1. Inquire Vaccination Status For Employees: From re-scaling offices to scheduling staggered times for eating or lunches, many of these policies can be contingent on the percentage of employees that are vaccinated when it comes to how stringent they need to be. To avoid legality issues, however, employers must make sure that this information is filed separately from general personnel files in order to avoid anti-discrimination liability. 

2. Over-Emphasize Policy Changes: Taking the risk of annoying employee occupants with reminders on mask mandates or distancing requirements is far less of a problem than being liable for allegedly failing to communicate the changes enough. Be it through company wide emails and also reinforcing managers to relay the message to teams, ‘more is more’ in this case, not less. It’ll also reinforce that a facility is truly taking the changes seriously and planning to enforce them — not just announcing them once for the sake of doing so. 

3. Being Flexible To Policy Changes: Policies are protocols are always subject to change in light of new information that can either improve them or make them more accurate. This applies not just to infection control, but almost any set of regulations across industries. By re-affirming unvaccinated employees that the restrictions aren’t personal — and in all likelihood just a temporary measure based off the recommendations being given — it can help ease tension even if it doesn’t diffuse it entirely. Companies should never be reluctant to update protocols out of fear of looking shaky, but instead brand it as evolving with new information.

For additional tips on staying safe during re-openings, check out this guide