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Going Back to the Office

Over the course of the last 13 months we have changed the way we do nearly everything. From eating out and haircuts to family gatherings and sporting events, but perhaps the way we were affected the most was Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm. The modifications and adaptations were swift and significant. Covid-19 not only impacted the way we thoughts about our jobs but how and where we did the work as well as what we were able to achieve. Now as we begin our return to an in-person society we may wonder what will constitute the new normal for both the employer and the employee.

What’s Different?

We know things will look (and feel) different, but what can we expect and how will we be successful in staying healthy and getting the job done? Both employees and employers will assume additional responsibilities as the workplace landscape changes. Employers will be responsible for providing the tools and infrastructure to keep employees socially distant as well as manage the policies and procedures for health checks and contract tracing. Employees must communicate their personal health status, submit to screenings like temperature checks and also disclose information about the health condition of the people they live with.

Post pandemic, organizations may decide to make permanent adjustments in order to keep the workplace safe and limit exposure across staff. Currently, a number of solutions including staggered shifts, hybrid arrangements, and completely work-from-home situations mean many employees are now situated and working out of home offices online. Working remotely is not as ideal as we all imagined it to be.

How to Remain Safe While at the Office

Some are turning to apps and online solutions to manage daily employee health screenings. Additionally, you may find it essential to update your policies and procedures as it relates to when and where employer provided PPE must be used. If yours is a business that interacts with customers there will likely be continued efforts to use Zoom and Microsoft Teams to limit exposure with those outside your immediate colleagues.

It becomes increasing important to remember to make accommodations for work-from-home employees including adjustments to avenues of communication, oversight, and policies and procedures governing your employees working outside of the office. One important area that must not be forgotten is that employees may have sensitive documents that were printed and utilized while they were out of the office. Employers must create messaging around making sure all that confidential information makes its way back to the secure shredding containers at the office or consider providing each employee with a Shred Vault Bag for the securing and shredding of their sensitive work related documents that were generated while working from home. If you’re not familiar with the Shred Vault system, click here. Data privacy, protection, and destruction represents a liability to businesses that must not be overlooked.

Perhaps we never thought we’d say it, but we’re glad to be heading back to the office.  And while these are still uncertain times with many unknowns, we are ready. The increased number of people being vaccinated may provide feelings of relief but these may be complicated with anxiety over what the new work normal will look like. If you have questions or are looking for answers to your document destruction questions or need information on data security and privacy don’t hesitate to call us.

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