Is Your Brokerage’s Office Ready to Reopen?

May 27, 2020

As more brokerages weigh the decision of when to reopen their offices, they’re considering new precautions and policies to help workers and customers feel safe as the pandemic continues.

Beyond adding prominent hand sanitizing stations to the office, more companies are taking a proactive approach to try to eliminate the spread of the virus in their workspaces through “no personal contact” rules and socially distanced workspaces.

Zenefits, a cloud-based software firm for human resources, offers a checklist at its site for businesses to consider as they contemplate when to reopen their doors.

Among the considerations: Make a set of “no personal contact” rules. These guidelines should aim to limit handshaking, closed meeting spaces, or any other forms of physical contact. Consider: Where is contact made between people in a normal situation in your office space? Also, is there any personal protective equipment that your workers could use to reduce transmission of infection for essential contact? For example, should you provide masks or gloves in your workplace?

Zenefits also encourages offices to post new no-contact rules to ensure staff read them and comply.

Another suggestion is to avoid sharing items in the workplace, such as pens, staplers, notebooks, dry erase markers, desk space, computers, and more. “We recognize not all businesses will be able to afford a zero tolerance policy of shared work tools, but where, within reason, a limiting of exposure to shared objects, caution should be made,” Zenefits notes in its guidelines to businesses.

Some offices are also reorganizing their floor plans before they reopen to keep workers at least 6 feet apart. Look for ways to stagger workplaces or adjust desks toward walls or office partitions to create more physical distance among workers.

Also, companies should eliminate common gathering areas, such a kitchenettes or break rooms. Look to reconfigure these spaces with social distance in mind. Consider reallocating communal gathering places in favor of open-air conference space or more roomy desk arrangements, Zenefits suggests.

Finally, collect and publish new policies in a digital handbook. “A digital handbook is going to be particularly important during COVID-19 and its aftermath,” the firm states.