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June 24, 2020

NBS has Returned to the Office Because Space Still Matters!

As governments begin to lift stay-at-home restrictions, organizations are planning, and even starting, to welcome their employees back into the office. A big consideration is around the speed at which people should be brought back to the workplace – and this is being done with a greater emphasis on employee wellbeing and safety. For many, work is a social activity and the office is where employees have access to the people and tools they need to collaborate and innovate most effectively. Over the past several months NBS has been actively preparing ourselves for our return to the office and helping our clients do the same in the process.

To start, NBS put together a COVID-19 Task Force to strategize on our safe return to the office. The team has kept a close eye on the changing CDC guidelines and ensuring we are making the most informed decisions for our business and people. The Task Force along with HR helped define our new COVID-19 safety guidelines for both in office and field team members. From these guidelines and conversations, our top priorities, in no particular order, to safely get people back to the office included:

  1. Define a new staggered work schedule to limit the number of people in the office at one time and ensure a minimum of 6 feet between workers.
  2. Assign all team members to owned workstations – no more free address for now.
  3. Conduct routine decontamination cleaning of our entire workspaces and vehicles by our CCS team, as well as treating Individual work settings and shared spaces including, restrooms, café, meeting rooms, etc. with Covershield.
  4. Provide masks to all team members with the following requirements:
    • Masks may be removed only when alone at your desk or in your vehicle, in a room by yourself, or eating and drinking.
    • If someone approaches your desk, you are required to put your mask on.
    • Masks must be worn when moving throughout the facility, office or warehouse.
    • Masks must be worn properly, covering both your nose and mouth.
  5. Complete a COVID-19 Daily Health Check, available on our internal intranet and SharePoint app, every day whether a team member comes into work or not.
  6. Utilize virtual collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams for meetings even when in the office to limit number of people in a room.
  7. Develop safety signage and visual cues for all meeting and shared spaces indicating the new maximum occupancy as well as plastic chair covers to signal which seats to not sit in. Place signage throughout the facility reminding people to keep a 6 foot distance between others and to wash hands for at least 20 seconds.
  8. Provide disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and cleaning solution in all common areas, as well as in or around all meeting spaces.
  9. Communicate frequently from leadership on any changes to our safety guidelines and return to work process.

 

These guidelines are part of our “now” strategy and we continue to develop what our near and far approaches may be including reconfiguring furniture, adding divisional products, enhancing our collaborative virtual technology and overall creating an adaptable safe working environment.

The changes at first were tough for some people, wearing masks and avoiding physical contact – no more fist bumps, hugs or handshakes. The office can even feel a little too quiet because many of our coworkers are still at home or on opposite in office schedules. Even so, three weeks after we re-opened our doors, we surveyed our team members to understand how they were feeling returning to the workplace. The results were overwhelmingly positive.

NBS What Have You Missed from the Office87% of those surveyed have been back to the office since we reopened.

98% felt safe while working in the office.

82% said they were comfortable practicing and abiding to the safety protocols in place.

We respect that everyone is at a different comfort level returning to the office and therefore have not made it mandatory. Team members have been successfully working from home since March and can continue to do so. However, based on survey results, the things they miss the most about the office are things they can’t replicate at home including face-to-face interaction with peers, the ability to collaborate and access to resources and materials. This is why we believe that space still matters. Bringing our people back to the office in a smart, safe and phased approach has been a top priority, one that will strengthen our business and culture.

Want to hear more about what we have learned through our own experiences? Contact NBS today.