The COVID-19 pandemic forced many employers to conclude that the safest option was to have their teams work from home until the workplace was as safe as possible. If your team is still getting stuff done remotely, make that reality work to your advantage by taking the time to upgrade your business location. Here are six possible improvements to make that’ll help your company and its employees.
Implementing New Technology
Many modern technological offerings are purpose-built to help people get more done in the time they have at work. However, installing new tech at a workplace while people actively use it can initially cause a drop in productivity. The installation process may require that people temporarily stop using specific devices or areas of the workplace. That’s why it makes sense to have the new technology set up while people are at home.
Start by becoming familiar with the tech solutions on the market and identifying the benefits they’d bring to your team. For example, a commercial security camera is a smart tech investment because it’s a crime deterrent that helps people feel safe.
If your company currently has a contact-based authorization system — such as requiring a person to swipe a card or type on a keypad — consider investigating contactless technology to promote security in a way that supports health-related best practices. Options such as facial recognition and iris scanning have become more prevalent in the age of COVID-19.
People will still need to get accustomed to whatever new technologies you introduce. However, getting them set up for workers who are still at home minimizes disruptions.
Hiring Professional Cleaners
Getting your business cleaned by professionals shows employees and customers that you care about maintaining a tidy image. It can also help people appreciate their workplaces even more. If they walk into an environment and quickly notice the dust and dirt, it’s hard to stay motivated.
Professional services can also translate to cost savings for your company. For example, if carpets are cleaned regularly, it becomes less likely that dirt and stains will cause severe discoloration that ultimately requires replacement. Similarly, keeping areas like break rooms or the employee cafeteria clean can discourage pests like cockroaches and ants that could otherwise require expensive interventions to remove.
When communicating with a cleaning company, have a clear idea of your needs in mind. Then, ask them what they recommend concerning the types of services to request and how often to have them done.
Scheduling the first appointment to happen while your employees are still at home also lets you signal a new start for the business. When workers come back, they’ll see that you made impressive improvements during their absence.
Applying Fresh Coats of Paint
What kind of message does your business environment send to customers and current or potential employees? If there’s room for improvement, painting the premises' interior and exterior could create an appealing look that emphasizes your professionalism.
For example, statistics show that employees are 18% more likely to stay at jobs that offer satisfying work environments. However, dull, chipped or unevenly applied paint could make people wish they worked somewhere more attractive.
If you operate a customer-facing business, getting it repainted could make the building more visible and attractive to passersby. People often form their opinions based on first impressions. You want to convey that your business deserves people’s attention and time. Paint alone is not enough to do that, but it crucially helps shape what the public thinks.
Getting the business painted while it is wholly or mostly empty also works well because you don’t need to worry about people accidentally brushing up against a just-painted wall or being irritated by the scent of paint. Instead, you can look forward to the compliments that people make when they arrive back at work and see the results.
Finishing COVID-19-Related Safety Upgrades
The COVID-19 pandemic required most businesses to make drastic changes to their workplaces to keep employees and customers adequately protected. If you have not finished making all the necessary alterations, do it before employees return.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has detailed recommendations about changes workplaces should make before workers return. For example, it advises increasing fresh air circulation when possible and using fans. You should also carry out a thorough hazard assessment to identify which rooms or workplace activities could increase the likelihood of virus transmission. The reality is that people cannot expect to return to work and do the same things they did before COVID-19 arrived.
Things that seemed relatively harmless before, such as crowding into a room to celebrate a colleague’s birthday, are now typically unsafe. You may need to install plastic shields or change seating configurations to promote social distancing, for example. Planning your upgrades so people come back to a maximally safe workplace gives them peace of mind and shows that you take the novel coronavirus seriously.
After making the updates, tell employees you are open to their feedback. They’ll probably have ideas you didn’t consider that are well worth taking into account. Workers will also appreciate that you care what they think, and that feeling should boost morale.
Investing in New Furniture
New furniture makes your business appear ready to welcome employees back to work. Whether your purchases include standing desks or ergonomic chairs, they could give workers the comfort they need to perform consistently well.
You may even hire an interior designer to make furniture recommendations. It’ll be easier for that expert to do so while looking at a mostly empty room. The lack of people will facilitate envisioning what’s possible without distractions.
Plus, furniture providers might need to take measurements before you finalize an order. When they get those details with workers still at home, there’s no need to worry about maintaining social distancing.
Consider also sending your at-home team a survey to find out what kinds of furniture they’d like to see. Try wording the message to not ruin the surprise that employees will find new furnishings when they return.
Making Lighting Improvements
Although it’s vital to implement COVID-19 measures to keep employees healthy, don’t forget that other workplace aspects also impact health. For example, inadequate lighting can cause eyestrain or headaches. However, proper illumination levels promote health and safety, as well as employee satisfaction.
Enhancing the lighting does not always mean installing new fixtures. You may merely need to change bulbs or tweak the angle of existing light sources. Take time to investigate how current lighting falls short and what options exist to make it better.
Be sure to assess exterior lighting, too. Well-lit premises discourage loitering and make employees feel safe as they walk to or from their cars in the dark. Bright lights can also make your business more visible to new visitors trying to find it while driving.
If energy efficiency is a concern for your company, investigate smart lighting. Many options work with sensors, so they automatically turn on or off depending on room occupancy.
Turning Your Business Into a Welcoming, Safe Place
These business improvements will make your enterprise inviting while promoting well-being. You may initially view your employees being off-site as less-than-ideal. However, having the work environment free from most people makes it easier to plan and carry out the upgrades suggested here.
Lexie is a UX designer and digital nomad. If she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.