Returning to the Office: What Precautions Should Employers Take?

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Covid-19 has changed the way we work and interact with others. While many alternative investment funds and financial services firms have opted to work remotely many are now considering returning to the office- a decision that isn’t always easy to make.

According to PwC’s U.S. Remote Work Survey, most companies planning a return to the office are implementing a hybrid work environment where employees rotate in and out of offices configured for shared space. This hybrid approach offers the most flexibility for employees and executives. 

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Although this may somewhat complicate each workweek, PwC predicts this hybrid work model will start to transform a company’s culture, employee engagement, productivity, and real estate costs in Q2 of 2021. Top findings in this survey:

  • 83% of employers now say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company.
  • Less than one in five executives say they want to return to the office as it was pre-pandemic.
  • Just 13% of executives are prepared to let go of the office for good.
  • By July 2021, 75% of executives anticipate at least half of office employees will be working in the office. In comparison, 61% of employees expect to spend half their time in the office by July.
  • 87% of executives expect to make changes to their real estate strategy over the next 12 months.

Source: It’s Time to Imagine How and When Work Will Get Done. PwC’s U.S. Remote Work Survey, January 12, 2021.

If having all employees together at the office is a goal for your company, developing a plan to keep everyone healthy and safe is in your best interest. Even if your company opts to maintain a pre-COVID-19 work environment, you must consider the following precautions:

  • Check your office building’s mechanical and life safety systems to ensure they still work. The prolonged vacancy can create hazards such as mold, rodents, and other pests or issues with stagnant water.
  • Identify how and when employees may be exposed to COVID-19 while at work.
  • Develop controls to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 among workers.
  • Consider ways to improve the building ventilation system.
  • Develop protocols for daily wellness and health check-ins.
  • Encourage employees to stay home if they’re not feeling well.

Source: COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings. CDC

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Please contact us as we are helping our clients navigate the key considerations in establishing a hybrid or full return-to-office environment.

At Aspen HR, we provide HR Managed Services via our PEO and ASO solutions to alternative investment funds and financial services firms. Our white-glove service model enables our clients to truly focus on their core business while becoming best-in-class employers. Our specific services include HR compliance and consulting, employee benefits (medical dental, vision, life, disability, 401(k), and payroll administration.

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