Rosslyn Ready for Businesses: Lessons & Takeaways from Industry Experts
We recently launched a neighborhood wide, coordinated reentry program called Rosslyn Ready, which is designed to support businesses in our community as they begin to reopen in accordance with Forward Virginia’s guidance.
In an effort to promote proper safety measures as the neighborhood begins to welcome more people back, the BID gathered renowned industry experts to serve as a resource for Rosslyn’s business owners.
Through a webinar series and digital toolkit, experts from Gensler, Bean Kinney & Korman and Hillmann Consulting discussed topics of concern for businesses preparing to reopen, covering issues ranging from space management and workplace culture, cleaning protocols for sanitizing the office, navigating the changing world of employment regulation, legal considerations, and more.
In the spirit of regionalism, we’ve made these resources available to businesses outside of Rosslyn. Here are a few key lessons and takeaways from our resources, which you can access for free when you sign up for Rosslyn Ready.
Take a people first approach.
Understand that while the planning process is complex, it’s the safety and well being of the people that make up your organization that is critical to success. Carefully considering who needs to return to work, when, and how often they need to physically be present in the office will need to be carefully planned.
To that end, communicating and engaging with your team is critical to a successful reentry. A phased approach will help enable people to more easily adjust to new expectations and a changed environment. Taking a survey of your team before reentry to gauge comfort levels, pain points and concerns will go a long way toward a smooth and effective transition.
Create a safe and accommodating workplace.
With CDC guidelines recommending a minimum of six feet of spacing between people, this will likely mean a major physical adjustment for most workplaces. Identifying high-traffic and high touch areas, as well as crossing paths and tight spaces is the first step toward creating a modified work environment that will help keep employees and customers safe and healthy.
Planning for this new environment will also involve considerations around circulation and entry/exit points, as well as increased cleaning procedures. Proper signage and signals will be key to communicating these precautions to employees, and ensuring your entire team understands how to maintain a clean environment.
Adjust company policy to reflect the new normal.
Recognize that the choices you make as a business owner in the planning process for reentry may have potential cultural, organizational and even legal ramifications. As outlined in the toolkit by Bean Kinney & Korman (available to you once you sign up for Rosslyn Ready), it will be important to review regulatory requirements from government agencies such as OSHA and ADA as you revize company policies.
Consider questions around what health information you are able to ask of employees, and how you would like to establish and reinforce expectations going forward. Think about what needs to be written as a policy, and what can be a guideline. Hiring a professional in HR and employment law to review your current policies and advise on changes is a good way to ensure you consider all angles in this evolving environment. The bottom line no matter what you end up deciding is that your policy or guidelines should be in writing, and clearly communicated to all employees and visitors to your office.
Understand that communication is key to creating positive perception.
Just as the planning process can be a daunting task for business owners, it’s also a confusing and uncertain time for employees. Engaging with your team early and frequently may make all the difference when it comes to a successful transition.
Creating a communications plan that includes an effective contact network, providing materials that explain timing and procedures, or even short, informal videos highlighting changed work spaces will help employees gain a level of comfort with their new environment before they come back to the office. Doing all of this with reassuring and helpful messaging, rather than adopting an alarmist voice, will remind employees that a united approach is the best way to ensure a successful return.
We hope these resources will help your business get ready for reentry today! Make sure to sign up here for access to our free resources today. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or concerns.