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As Employees Return to the Office, First Impressions Matter

Call it the return of the return to the office. 

As one reopening date after another got pushed back in 2021 due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, facility managers continuously updated their return-to-office (RTO) plans and readjusted their timelines. Now, with more and more companies looking to welcome back employees in the coming months, it’s finally time to put those plans into action.

But successfully implementing an RTO strategy isn’t as simple as spacing out desks and installing hand sanitizer stations. Facility managers must consider both physical and mental challenges. Many employees are nervous about being back in shared spaces. Even those eager to collaborate face to face with their co-workers once again want to know that they are returning to a safe workplace.

Whether employees are returning on an as-needed basis, on a hybrid schedule, or full time, it has never been more important for your facility to make a great impression. 

Here are a few steps you can take to reduce jitters, instill confidence, and reassure employees that your facility is clean, healthy and safe.

Let Your Surfaces Shine

For many employees, their first day back to the office will be the first time they have stepped inside the building in almost two years. Even if they’ve been back for occasional meetings or to pick up files, they’ll be looking at your facility with fresh eyes—and the first thing they’ll see is the floors.

Help employees feel good about their return from the second they walk through the front door by deep cleaning your carpet and restoring your floors now. The easiest time to take care of this is when you don’t have to worry about foot traffic, making this the perfect opportunity to remove those stubborn spills and buff out those unsightly scratches. Not only will your floors look like new, but also you’ll demonstrate your commitment to cleanliness.

Make Your Furniture Flawless

Dingy cubicle walls and stained office chairs bring employees down during the best of times. During challenging times, they’re an outright morale killer.

The good news? You don’t have to replace your furniture and textiles. They just need a good cleaning. Low-moisture cleaning systems are effective at extracting dirt, freshening the fabric, and extending the life of your office furniture. Bonus: A thorough cleaning will remove 99.9% of allergens. That means you’ll be eliminating both dust and those pesky little dust mites within. The last thing you need right now is for a simple allergen to set off a sneezing fit in one of your employees that causes everyone else to cower in fear.

Keep Your Bathrooms Bright

Tile is a great choice for a bathroom floor because it’s water-resistant and easy to keep clean. The grout between the tiles is a different story. Grout is extremely porous, meaning it easily absorbs water, dirt and germs. Mold and mildew then start to grow, resulting in an unclean appearance and a smelly situation. If you don’t maintain your grout, it will become germy, grimy and gross—not exactly the best look for your facility as it greets returning employees, all of whom are expecting a spotless environment.

Before your facility starts ushering employees back in, you’ll want to  get the gunk in your grout out. When you have your tile and grout professionally restored, you will remove trapped dirt and bacteria, eliminate foul odors, and transform the look of your floors.

Practice Clear Communication

Even if you know your facility has been cleaned from top to bottom and disinfected within an inch of its life, you can’t assume employees will know that. Signage is a simple way to communicate about cleaning schedules and let employees know what you are doing to keep them safe. 

Small signs can be placed on desks and workstations to let employees know their space has been recently cleaned and disinfected. Larger wall or floor signs and door hangers can be used to indicate conference rooms and other communal areas are safe to use. Be sure to remove signs after an appropriate period of time so employees don’t think the signs are meaningless and start to ignore them. 

Reopening the office is a big step, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. Help your employees feel confident about returning by providing a clean, healthy work environment from boardroom to bathroom. Call APEX at (844) 462-7391 to schedule your consultation today!