Managing Office Visitors as You Reopen Your Post-COVID-19 Office

Covid Reopening

The coronavirus has forced business owners everywhere to rethink how they operate and manage their office space. It’s already been a challenge to create a reopening plan to bring employees back to work safely.

Now that offices are starting to reopen and put these safety protocols into practice, a new challenge has emerged: How should offices welcome back visitors?

The first question to ask is, “Should my business allow visitors?” Many owners are answering this question with a firm ‘no’ … at least for now. However, there are just as many other companies who simply cannot run their businesses without allowing customers and vendors through the door.

If your business falls into the latter category, you need a plan ready to go before a single guest walks through the door.

Ask Office Visitors to Do These Four Things When They Step into Your Workplace

Make your social distancing and sanitizing expectations clear to visitors and ask for their help to keep everyone safe. Here are four key things to ask each guest to do when they arrive as well as steps you can take to host visitors safely.

New CDC Office Guidelines

1. Please Do Not Touch (Or, At Least, Keep It to a Minimum)

Regardless of the visitor plan you put in place, one of the primary goals is for guests to touch as little as possible. Ask visitors to only touch what’s absolutely necessary.

Steps You Can Take to Help

A completely handsfree office may be a pipedream, but you can put some measures in place to help people touch fewer surfaces, such as:

  • Eliminate the Guest Sign-in Sheet. If you must have guests sign-in, have an employee take down their name verbally and then manually log the guest’s arrival.
  • Replace Fabric Furniture with Vinyl. Lobby seating should be constructed with vinyl or other easy-to-disinfect material. Unlike fabric, vinyl lobby chairs can be more easily disinfected. See this list of EPA-approved disinfectants for use against COVID-19.
  • Install Hand-Sensor Entry Doors. Swap door handles for waving-activated or motion-detecting doors.

2. Wash Your Hands

Require your guests to wash their hands when they come into your building. This is one of the easiest and most-effective ways to keep viruses out of the office.

Steps You Can Take to Help

Here’s how you can make handwashing easy for everyone.

  • Install a Handwashing Sink. Add a sink as close to the entrance of your office as you can.
  • Add Handwashing Signage that Guests Can’t Miss. Don’t assume your guests will see the sink when they walk through the door. Go overboard with signage to let them know they must take this step.
  • Place Hand Sanitizer Everywhere. Hand sanitizer should be highly visible and placed throughout your office. Anywhere a guest could come in contact with a surface – reception desk, chairs, light switches, interior doors, and more – should have hand sanitizer ready and available.

3. Wear a Mask

If the layout of your business or office puts people in relatively close quarters, require that your guests wear a mask during their visit. They should think of visiting your office no differently than if they’re walking into a grocery store where masks are the new normal. If your guests are there to meet with a group of your employees, make sure those employees wear masks, too.

Steps You Can Take to Help

Invest in masks that live at your office. That way, if a guest shows up empty-handed, you’ll (literally) have them covered.

4. Keep Your Distance

We all know by now that staying at least six feet away from one another is the recommended thing to do to stay healthy. It’s hard to break old habits, though, and as we return to work, we have to retrain our brains to maintain distance. Your guests are in the same boat and may need a reminder now and then. Do everyone a favor and remind office visitors of your social distancing policies when they arrive.

Steps You Can Take to Help

Here are some of the ways you can set your office up to make six feet of separation easy.

  • Convert the Conference Table to Single Meeting Desks. Think back to elementary school when we turned our desks around to face one another and form a circle. By swapping the conference table for socially-distanced desks and chairs, you can control how far apart the desks sit while still creating an effective meeting space so everyone can get down to business.
  • Floor Decals Placed Every Six Feet. Floor decals are an easy–dare we say ‘fun’–way to remind everyone in your office to stay far enough apart. This overt reminder will also reinforce that your office is taking social distancing guidelines seriously which will likely cause your guests to do the same.

Clear Communication is Your Best Defense Against Spreading Coronavirus as You Welcome Back Office Visitors

By the time your guests arrive at your office, there should be no safety protocol surprises. Talk to your guests before their visit. Ask them to bring a mask, fill them in on your safety protocols, and be sure to let them know you look forward to seeing them and getting back to business.

Finding ways to welcome guests back to the office isn’t easy right now, but with the right planning and resources, you’ll be able to welcome visitors back safely. Our furniture folks at Nolt’s are here to help get your office ready when guests return. Our showroom is stocked with new and used office furniture, so come visit us today.

 We can’t wait to help you welcome back your guests and get back to work!