Get the Latest Updates Directly

How to Prepare the Office for Return After COVID: Tech Edition

Here's what to consider as you make the switch back to the office.

April 6, 2021

As the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out, many companies are planning their return to the office for the upcoming months. While many companies will include a hybrid structure in this plan, it means bringing many employees back to the office somehow. 

To ensure a seamless transition back to the office, business leaders must consider some essential technology steps. After many months of remote work, employees using personal devices, and a vacant network, there is a lot of preparation needed. 

Here is what technology leaders must consider as businesses make the switch back to the office. 

Communication

Communication is vital for the return to the office. Businesses should create and share their plan company-wide. Explain who you plan to bring back to the office, when, and why. Indicate any plans for hybrid work, and describe what you will do to keep your office clean and safe. Share frequently asked questions, and allow employees to ask more questions. As you develop new processes and procedures for technology and safety, share these with your team. Be transparent about any changes and what employees can expect. 

Rearranging Workstations for Social Distance 

Even as companies return to work, social distancing measures will be necessary. One of the best ways to prepare for a safe return to the office is by rearranging workstations. Rearrange desks and workspaces to provide social distancing. This effort may include spacing out workstations, adding desk shields, and rearranging your office's format. 

Even though you may not be moving buildings, you must relocate equipment to provide social distancing. The IT dept should participate in this to ensure everything is appropriately detached and reattached. If you need some extra help, BLM Technologies is happy to help with office relocation to ensure your critical equipment's safe handling.

Hybrid Office Use

The pandemic has shown that remote working is possible and productive for all kinds of businesses. While many businesses and employees are still eager to return to the office, many will also incorporate a hybrid structure that includes some remote work options. To execute this strategy, you should consider your employees' time and needs. Many people enjoy working from home, at least part of the time, and are not eager for a long daily commute. Striking a balance between in-office and remote work will be essential. 

It would help if you created a plan to address hybrid work, one that allows your business to transition to remote work at any time quickly. 

It's imperative to use a cloud file solution so your team can safely transfer files to each other for remote work. If employees previously used their device during the pandemic, you must decide how to address a BYOD policy or if you will provide devices. 

Health and Safety Tools

Consider adding a temperature screening device to make employees feel more comfortable. Temperature is a fast, easy, non-invasive way to check for symptoms of illness. With a temperature screening device, you can measure temperature from a safe distance. You can install temperature kiosks at access points to help keep everyone safe. 

Perform Network Maintenance

Before everyone gets back on the network, you should perform network maintenance. This will ensure your network is safe and efficient for employees to use again. It would help if you did not assume your network is the same as you left it. Create a network maintenance checklist. Test your internet connection. Check all of the wireless access points. Examine performance. Resolve any problems before your team returns to the office. 

Ensure Personal Safety 

Before the pandemic, it was common for employees to come to work even while feeling sick. To ensure the personal safety of all employees, implement sick-day policies. Describe when employees should not come to the office and provide resources that allow employees to work from home if they can. 

Additionally, communicate about the measures you are taking to keep your team safe. Outline clear protocol for safety expectations and responsibilities each employee has to keep the workplace safe. 

Pandemic Compliance Officer

The pandemic and COVID-19 requirements are ever-changing. Assigning a Pandemic Compliance Officer can help you keep up with changing regulations and best practices. This assignment is not legally required, but it can make the process much smoother. You have someone assigned to keep up with changes that will help your workplace stay on top of legal obligations and best safety practices. The Pandemic Compliance Officer should communicate any changes, and the reasons, to your employees. 

Update Your Equipment Agreement

Many businesses had to adapt to working out at home swiftly, and some may not have previously had policies on taking work equipment home or Bring Your Device (BYOD) policies. Update your equipment agreement based on a hybrid work structure. Your equipment agreement should include using company equipment offsite and personal devices for company tasks. 

Updated Cybersecurity Training

Cybersecurity is essential for protecting your critical information. Cyberattackers are constantly evolving and presenting new threats. Bringing your team back onto the network certainly includes some cybersecurity risks. Give your team some updated cybersecurity training so that they understand their role in keeping data safe. 

Address both in-office and remote best practices. Teach employees about cybersecurity threats, signs of an attack, and the best way to respond. The most effective cybersecurity training includes testing the material. Additionally, IT departments should address cybersecurity best practices regularly to keep the information fresh for employees. 

Get Rid of Unused Devices

Assess your device inventory and get rid of any unused devices, including old employee laptops, desktops, or printers. There's a good chance you got new devices when the switch to remote happened or that you will now accommodate the long-term hybrid environment. Either way, there will be equipment laying around that you no longer need. 

Old devices pose a data security risk, as they still contain sensitive data. If the devices get into the wrong hands, your essential business data could be compromised. Properly recycling e-waste secures your data and is best for the environment. Create an Information Technology Asset Disposition plan to recycle your e-waste in a way that complies with laws, protects your sensitive data, and minimizes the impact on the environment. 

Get Professional Tech Help 

Considering all of the essential steps above can be a lot for business or technology leaders. You already have so much on your plate trying to keep business running smoothly during these challenging times. 

One of the best ways to ensure a smooth transition is by seeking an experienced professional's help. BLM Technologies is here to help your company with the tech transition back to the office. We provide a wide range of technology services to help with e-waste management, temperature scanning, equipment agreements, network maintenance, office relocation, remote support, and more. Learn more about how BLM Technologies can help you today by contacting us.

You might also be interested in

2021 Cloud Security Management and Best Practices
Office Devices that are Vulnerable to Cyberattacks and How to Protect Them
Point-of-Sale System Security (POS)