In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across the country are trying to figure out how to transition back to the office. Cybersecurity is a primary concern for these companies.
Companies all over the U.S. have weighed the benefits of moving to a remote workforce model. That said, not every industry had the chance to do this. Those companies that did allow employees to work from home often found themselves in uncharted territory. If you’re a business owner feeling the pressure to reopen quickly, you’ll first want to monitor your I.T. needs. As a consequence of staying in business, your company’s cybersecurity may have been put at risk.
To maintain and improve your cybersecurity, we recommend these tips for how to transition back to the office:
1. Redistribute staff numbers
Inviting your entire workforce back all at once poses a significant risk for the transmission of infectious disease. By dividing your resources between the most essential departments, you can safeguard your staff’s health. A gradual restaffing of your business is the best model for how to transition back to the office.
Plan a staggered phase approach to rebuilding your office. Build a method so that an alternating combination of workers operate from the office on a steady rotation. Organize these combinations across practical departments, both to guarantee staffing across roles and to maintain social distancing. Avoid the appeal of fully opening – the risks just aren’t worth the benefits.
2. Balance remote setups
Despite the presence of normal workplaces, a responsible business should extend some kind of remote setup for several more months if possible. Alternating quarantines and business closures may continue into the future for certain high-risk and high population density areas. With that in mind, switching back and forth between working from home and working from the office is a serious possibility.
Many companies will choose to have employees working from home to alleviate their budget. Others may see a return to a remote workforce if any employees do need to take extended medical leave. This strengthens the value of an active communications platform to reach your employees from their remote setup.
3. Reconsider how you use your space
Reopening your company won’t undo all of the constraints imposed by state quarantines. Your business will still need to follow local regulations around social distancing, small gatherings, and cleaning procedures. You should expect to rework your prior, pre-quarantine routines before you return to 100% capacity.
In addition, you’ll want to be proactive in rearranging your work area. The necessity for 6 feet of distance between employees has a huge impact on seating configurations and shared spaces like break rooms. Some companies are opting for mandatory face masks, additional dividers, and marked walkways as methods to keep employees safe.
4. Foster a positive company culture
The human element of how to transition back to the office demands as much attention as the logistical one. The drastic whiplash in employees’ routines will take some time to overcome. Be understanding and realize that the return may feel unsettling for some and take longer for others. For many businesses, the workforce that returns to the office will be considerably smaller.
Prosperous businesses thrive on motivated workforces, so it’s important for leaders to invest in rebuilding workplace morale. Answer any employee concerns about returning to pre-COVID routines. Similarly, you should handle announcements regarding the new guidelines with sensitivity.
There are plenty of steps businesses can take to improve workplace culture, including promoting achievements, encouraging cross-functional collaboration, and painting a positive vision of the future. When your staff is ready and local guidelines permit, consider throwing a reopening party or employee appreciation event.
5. Perform a cybersecurity audit
For most business owners, the reality of how you operate your budget means that COVID-19 is still a disruption. Therefore, there are now likely to be deficiencies in the infrastructure and support that your employees need to perform their duties. However, you also can’t afford to sacrifice your I.T. needs, so we recommend a professional cybersecurity audit.
Each one of your departments should evaluate its methods and identify any problem areas. When it comes to your I.T. infrastructure, you’ll want to make sure all of your firewall, email, and antivirus programs are up and running. Research, evaluation, and implementation can expedite how to transition back to the office.
6. Use reliable communication channels
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed organizations to modernize their communications. Take a look at how your company communicates – whether it’s by email, phone directory, or a chat application. Practical platforms should facilitate communication, connectivity, and collaboration. The value of internal communications during this crisis has even been echoed by C-suite leaders.
Returning to business-as-usual doesn’t mean it’s time to relax. The progress you’ve made on instant interaction while working remotely should continue back in the office. For instance, it’s natural for a cross-department visit to interrupt your focus. Two-way communication channels, such as employee surveys, can capture long-term workplace sentiment about what your staff’s needs.
7. Create scaleable solutions
The workforce changes centered around the pandemic have delivered some benefits to businesses. Many have uncovered stronger collaboration within and across teams, more productive working routines, and reinforcement of positive health practices. Smart businesses will now seek to embed the lessons learned into how they conduct business in the future.
Foster virtual collaboration in person by encouraging cross-functional committees and rearranging seating arrangements. Break down silos by regularly communicating the status of key projects for each functional area. Maintain healthy workplace hygiene by reminding sick staff to stay home – particularly important with the continued risk of COVID-19 infection.
A March survey revealed that 41% of employees were unsure about how to transition back to the office due to the risk of exposure. Above all, don’t rush your staff to jeopardize public health or the prosperity of your company. If you use these tips on how to transition back to the office, you can gradually restore your employees’ daily routine.
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About Cinch I.T.
Since 2004, Cinch I.T. has been providing customer-focused I.T. support for businesses of all sizes. Every element of its support is designed to provide not only the best I.T. solutions but also the fastest and friendliest network and computer support in the industry. Cinch is one of the nation’s fastest-growing I.T. cybersecurity franchises with 7 locations and counting. To learn more, visit cinchit.com. For more information about I.T. franchise opportunities, visit cinchfranchise.com.