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Return to Work: How to Do So Smartly, and Stay Safe

This is Red Five’s eleventh weekly report detailing proactive steps you, your family, or your company can take to be prepared for the week ahead. This report represents work product derived from various reliable sources, and contains the most accurate information available at the time of print. However, it may be based in part upon information provided by third party sources, which may be subject to change at any time.

Return to work decisions should be made with the most up to date and accurate information possible, and should take into account the health and safety of employees, Clients, and visitors (as applicable) as well as the business case for the office space. Businesses across the US have begun a gradual reopening process as states move from Phase II to Phase III of their reopening plans. This comes despite record setting increases of COVID-19 cases across more than a dozen US states.

  • The CDC reported on 25 June that COVID-19 cases in the US are probably ten times higher than reported.
  • Texas and Florida have paused reopening as virus cases soar across the South and West.

We recommend you take the following steps to be prepared for reopening, and even a possible wave of secondary shutdowns.  

  • Adjust your mindset about what reopening means. Returning to “normal” may be a long way off. Reconsider the use cases for your office. It may make sense to treat your own office space as “purpose” rather than “attendance” oriented. Consider using the space for specific purposes: collaborative white board meetings, onboarding, in person training, professional broadcasting, scheduled shift work, and/or voluntary in person work at a company desk.
  • Have a plan, and be willing to adjust your plan as local circumstances change. You may need to have a plan that can be paused, reverted back to a previous state, or modified to deal with new scientific data about transmission of the virus in different seasons or under new conditions.
  • Maintain awareness about what is happening where you have office locations. Find reliable sources of information to make informed decisions about reopening, and also to determine if operations need to be scaled back again.
  • Maintain your business relationships and partnerships. Now is a great time to reach out to your network and check in with people as they begin returning to the office. What are the other tenants doing in your office building? Check with peer groups on their plans.
  • Check your fiscal fitness around your office expenditures. This is a good time to measure expenses for new sanitation and virus-related cleaning. What will they mean for the long-term outlay of cash. Do you have a lease renewal coming up? Could you negotiate new conditions and landlord services for cleaning in your space, in return for your landlord keeping you as a tenant?